How Yankees Offense is Continuing to Improve During MLB's Coronavirus-Induced Hiatus
Postponing the regular season hasn't halted the Yankees pursuit of taking an elite offensive unit to the next level.
Although players are dispersed across the globe amid the novel coronavirus, technology has played a key role in New York's position players keeping in touch with hitting coach Marcus Thames and the rest of the coaching staff.
"The guys that aren't here, they send me videos of them swinging, just doing the same routine they've been doing during the season," Thames explained to Meredith Marakovits of YES Network on Thursday.
While everyone copes with unprecedented circumstances, Thames has trusted players to keep busy on their own time. That doesn't mean he won't get a FaceTime call every once in a while with an update or question from someone on the Bombers' roster.
"I try to give them their space because I know they have families and everyone is going through different things," the hitting coach described. "We have a really good group of guys so I know when to connect with them and when not to."
Thames stuck around in Tampa and has been frequenting the Bombers' facility three times a week to continue working with those that didn't return to their personal homes when Spring Training was suspended back in March. Those players, along with Thames, have utilized George M. Steinbrenner Field to the fullest.
"The guys here, we get out on the field, take some [batting practice], hit off the machine," he said. "Guys are trying to do as much as possible to make sure they're ready to go."
As it turns out, if baseball resumes, the team will be reconvening in Tampa rather than the Bronx.
According to multiple reports, the Yankees will restart activity at George M. Steinbrenner Field should MLB's latest proposal come to fruition and a brief Spring Training begin again next month.
When it comes to taking strides in the right direction during an ongoing hiatus, Thames singled out Giancarlo Stanton for his work now that he's completely recovered from his Grade 1 right calf strain that sidelined him for much of Spring Training.
"He's been looking good. I mean, I think his swing is where it needs to be," Thames said. "He's a pro. He comes in and gets his work in. Trying to make sure he's healthy and ready to go, I think his teammates are excited about that."
With the addition of a universal designated hitter set to be installed should there be a 2020 MLB season, players like Stanton can benefit in a huge way. The slugger can focus on his at-bats while avoiding opportunities to get hurt playing the field in National League ballparks.
Until the league and players union reach an agreement to bring baseball back, Thames and the Yankees' coaching staff are working hard to ensure the entire team stays safe. After all, the health of this talented roster is the best way to keep this contender on the right track.
"Just trying to make sure we stay safe, listen to the health officials and the guys are trying to get as much work in as possible," Thames said. "Whatever it takes for us to keep ourselves healthy and safe, we're all for it."
To keep up with all of Inside The Pinstripe’s coverage, click the "follow" button at the top right-hand corner of this page.