Nationals shortstop Trea Turner was part of the infield group that got in a good workout Tuesday during summer training at Nats Park. On the field he wore his red field mask, covering his mouth, nose, ears and hair. Players normally wear that sort of gear only in cold weather.
“Just messing around with that,” Turner said during a Zoom video call with reporters. “I hadn’t thought about it until today.
“For me, I try to save my masks and not get them so dirty. This is a mask I wear to and from the field, when I am showered and cleaned,” he added, pointing to the face covering he wore during the interview.
“So, when I am out there sweating, figured I’d just try out the old field mask,” Turner said. “It was definitely hot out there, but if we are being safe and it helps at all, then maybe I will continue to do it. Kind of a test run I guess, just to see what it was like. I don’t think I will play with it on but I figured it couldn’t hurt.”
“I think it’s a little easier to breathe in than these masks, but it’s definitely hotter,” Turner said. “When you are covering your ears and your hair you are definitely sweating pretty good. It’s hot, but it’s 97, 95 degrees out anyway, so it is what it is. Just trying it out and see what happens.”
During the pandemic-shortened season, players will not be allowed to spit on field or in the dugout before, during or after games. Turner said wearing a mask might actually help him subconsciously follow this rule.
“For sure,” Turner said. “I think wearing a mask, they’ve debated whether it’s good or whatever it may be. But for me, it makes me not want to touch my face, which I think is a huge thing. It keeps you from spitting. I’ve caught myself a couple of times where I’ve wanted to spit. But I’m definitely going to miss the (sunflower) seeds this year. I’m a big seed guy on the bench, especially in between innings. Wearing the mask now may help kick that habit and maybe I don’t crave that when I’m on the bench during the game. We are going to be getting used to different things and I’ve definitely caught myself kind of changing some habits, for sure.”
While some big leaguers - including teammates - have decided the risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus is too great for them to play this year, Turner said he hasn’t reached that point.
“I don’t think I’ve ever considered not playing,” Turner said. “I always was leaning towards playing. But that is a fluid question. If it’s going bad, you can obviously take all things into consideration. I think if we continue to do what we have done so far in these first three days, then it’s the right decision, at least for me, to play.”