Spring Training On Hold; Rockies Keep Salt River Field Open for Workouts
In the aftermath of Major League Baseball's decision on Friday to officially put Spring Training on hold, the Rockies announced that their spring training facilities would remain open to players on the big-league Spring Training roster, where the training staff, manager Bud Black and his coaching staff would be on hand to oversee workouts. However, if players prefer, they are free to return home in the interim or even return to Denver.
Minor league players and staff have been sent home in light of the fact, "the minor league season couldn't start at the earliest for 45 days so it made sense," said Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich.
The bulk of the players on the big-league spring roster are expected, at least initially, to remain in Scottsdale with the possibility that camps could reopen within two weeks.
"We don't have a feeling of a final count of what the decisions are, but we have a good feeling a lot of players plan on staying here," said Bridich.
He said the Rockies will run the facility along the lines of the workouts held at Salt River Field in January and early February each year.
"The weight room will be open, the training room will be open," said Bridich. "We will provide food. The (batting) cage will be open. Certain pitchers on certain days may be throwing a bullpen session. We (will) have a field open for infield work. We won't plan on being here all day, every day."
While MLB has currently only announced that the first two weeks of the regular season won't be played as scheduled, there is a feeling the concernsabout the impact of the coronavirus could force an even longer delay, making this the first time since 1995 that spring training was put in limbo and the start of the season was delayed nearly four weeks until the opening games were played on April 26, which marked the first game ever at Coors Field.
After a settlement was made to end the strike on March 31, 1995, players were given several days to report for an abbreviated spring training, allowing for a three-week revision of spring training plans.
Baseball did not make up the games wiped out in early April that season, leading to a 144-game regular season schedule, which was capped by the Rockies, in their third year of existence, becoming the first team to earn the NL Wild-Card, which was added for that season.
MLB, this year, has brought up the idea of adding games that are wiped out by the late start to the season on at the end of the season, which could take the Rockies into mid-November, and create a scenario in which the World Series wouldn't be played until December.
"None of the stuff is 100 percent set in stone," Bridich said of tentative plans. "We are still adjusting to the news of the day."
The only thing certain is Rockies management has been given an indication that the bulk of the players will remain in Scottsdale, at least initially, to work out.
Manager Bud Black said the workouts will focus on keeping in shape with the idea that game-focused preparation would resume once MLB gets an idea on when the regular season will open, and official spring training can resume. How long the second shot of spring training this year will last is dependent primarily on how long it takes for baseball to get approval to get back to work.
"There will have to be lead time to get into game shape again," he said. "We were tracking towards that. The players were two weeks away from Opening Day on March 26. We don't know how long this is going to be but we will get plenty of time from MLB to get back into game shape. It will be at least a three-week period of that segment of spring training to get ready for the season."