Thames staying in shape, rekindling hobby during shutdown

New Nationals backup first baseman Eric Thames has been taking care of himself, working out and staying safe at his home in Las Vegas since spring training was shut down in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 33-year-old slugger has had the Nats coaching, training, and strength and conditioning staffs check in to see how he was coming along over the past seven weeks.

Thames Dugout High Fives Sidebar.jpg"In terms of the coaching, everybody is waiting to see what's going to happen once they announce the date (for return)," Thames said this afternoon during a Zoom video call. "Pitchers are keeping their arms loose. I'm still hitting off a tee (and following) all the rules. We are not trying to get close with anybody, so there's been no BP.

"The trainers have definitely been reaching out to make sure no one is showing any symptoms and then the strength coach has been reaching out to make sure you get your sprints in, your program, your stretching, do this and that. Just making sure guys don't show up overweight or out of shape. You don't want to get hurt."

Las Vegas is known for professional athletes residing in the in the city during the offseason, and Thames ran into a former National at the grocery store about a week or so into the shutdown.

"I saw (Bryce) Harper at the grocery store a few weeks ago," Thames said. "He was like, 'Hey, what's up dude?' We gave (each other) the elbow dab. I was like. 'I'll see you in a few months.' ...

"I was getting steaks and I walked by and I saw him, I saw the bun and the hair and all that stuff, and I was like, 'That's Harper!' I said, 'You bored?' and he said, 'Yeah, I'm bored. Just working out.' And I said, 'Yeah, same thing' "

Thames said he has been working out in his garage.

"Not trying to do too much because I do get really big," said Thames, who is 6-foot and 210 lbs. "So this last month, my programming is all stretching and just getting my shoulders ready, my hips and all that fun stuff."

A lot of baseball players have spent time doing puzzles or watching Netflix during the unexpected shutdown, but Thames passes the time by coloring.

Thames Artwork Sidebar.jpeg"Coloring books, reading," Thames said. "Haven't been watching too much TV. I don't watch a lot of movies and stuff, a video game here or there. A lot of reading, trying to stay safe. Now it's getting hot - supposed to be 100 degrees today - so might go for a walk. It's what I pretty much do during the season and the offseason, keeping my brain occupied and (then) go to the field. But now at 2 p.m. (his usual time to arrive at the stadium), I am still hanging out."

Thames displayed his artwork in the coloring books during the video call. The completed coloring books were filled with bright kaleidoscope-themed designs with precise tracing. He said it was a hobby he had picked up a long time ago and just recently, because of social distancing restrictions, has returned to.

"I've done (this) years ago," Thames said. I pulled it out of my bookshelf and I said, 'Oh, I remember these things!' All of sudden, it was like I'd lose three hours. It's nothing special. It's not like me drawing this stuff. It's something to pass the time and I feel like art, it's always good. If it was me drawing, it'd be stick figures. I don't want someone to find this notebook and say, 'Oh, this guy is terrible.' I'll stick to coloring books. That's as far as I'll go with art."

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