The length of baseball’s shutdown is allowing players to heal and get deeper into their rehabs after sustaining injuries in spring training.
It isn’t much of a silver lining, but let’s try to stay positive today.
I’ve heard that reliever Evan Phillips, sidelined in early March due to a sore right elbow, is feeling much better. The long layoff and rehab process have brought positive results.
Phillips could progress to bullpen sessions in a few more weeks.
He was a certainty to begin the season on the injured list until spring camps closed. A second opinion on March 5 from Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles confirmed that surgery wasn’t necessary.
A second spring training looms if owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association can reach an agreement that would allow the season to start in July. Phillips made only two appearances in exhibition games before undergoing an MRI.
Could he get in sufficient work and join the 20-man taxi squad that’s supposedly going to be implemented?
I’m asking for a friend.
* Today marks the soft deadline for owners and players to reach agreement on the financial terms that will enable the 2020 season to become a reality.
The hard truth is that they’re moving past the deadline.
A deal must be in place by next week to allow for a July 4 opening day. They can’t rush a second spring training and risk injuries, especially on the pitching side.
I read more tweets yesterday about the growing sense of optimism within the industry. Yeah, again. Meanwhile, I check around and hear, “I have no idea what’s going to happen.”
Also, reports surfaced late last night stating that the union’s latest proposal calls for a June 30 start date, a 114-game schedule, a regular season that runs through October, no sliding pay scale and two years of expanded playoffs. Players want a bigger slice of the pie. They aren’t backing down.
That earlier optimism? Gone again.
Stop touching the hot stove.
Everyone agrees that both sides understand the importance of playing baseball this summer. That they can’t settle for the cancellation of the season because the backlash will be severe.
So what are we waiting for? If health issues aren’t a hurdle, get it done.
* Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. joined Twitter (@CalRipkenJr) on April 7 to announce the start of the “Strike Out Hunger” initiative designed to assist kids and families across the country who are dealing with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was a coordinated effort between the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, which includes Cal Jr. and brother Bill, and Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States.
It was quite a success.
I’m told that the campaign provided more than 3.4 million meals for distribution.
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, along with its partners at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and the Kevin Harvick Foundation, contributed $250,000 on the first day and the donations kept coming. Every dollar helped to provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of member food banks.
Feeding America estimated in April that $1.4 billion in additional resources would be needed over the next six months to provide enough food for people struggling with hunger.
* If you’re known for building your entire day around draft coverage, make note that baseball’s version begins June 10 at 7 p.m. on MLB Network and ESPN.
Coverage of the second through fifth rounds begins June 11 at 5 p.m. on MLB Network and ESPN2. A total of 160 selections will be made over five rounds.
The Orioles own the second overall pick for the first time in club history. They’ll also select 30th on the first night.
The signing deadline has been moved from July 10 to Aug. 1.