Mountcastle’s workouts, season safety discussed, plus other notes

When you are pro baseball player that lives in Florida, you can probably often find other pro players to work out with and train with. That is true for Orioles prospect Ryan Mountcastle, who lives near Orlando.

In an interview yesterday, he told me he is spending his days right now working out, playing ball and hanging out by the pool. Sounds like a pretty good day, right?

So when Mountcastle looks to take part in some baseball activities these days, he is doing that with other accomplished players.

“We have a couple of big league pitchers (in our group), Zach Eflin and Nick Goody, and my buddy Jay Gonzalez, who played (on the farm) with the Orioles,” Mountcastle said. “Jesse Winker of the Reds was out with us the other day. So we’ve got a good group of guys.”

Mountcastle said this should mean that he soon will be able to take part in some live batting practice sessions off actual major league pitchers.

Mountcastle-w-Bag-ST-sidebar.jpg“We’re actually starting that next week, just to start ramping up for that mid-June start or whatever they’re thinking. Yeah, once we get a little more word on an actual start date, I think we’ll start putting that more into gear,” he said.

On March 19, the Orioles optioned Mountcastle to Triple-A Norfolk. But if there is a 2020 season, he will stand a good chance to make his major league debut at some point.

In 2019, he was the Orioles minor league Player of the Year, winning the Brooks Robinson Award. He was also the International League MVP. For the Tides, he hit .312/.344/.527 with 35 doubles, 25 homers, 81 runs and 83 RBIs.

Mountcastle was my latest guest in a video interview. You will be seeing that entire interview in this space very soon.

More on a possible season: A Wall Street Journal report shed some light on how Major League Baseball will try to keep players safe and healthy if and when they can begin the 2020 season. The report said players would be tested for the coronavirus multiple times per week.

Per the report, MLB officials believe they can acquire tens of thousands of test kits while not taking away from the supply to frontline workers. Testing capacity is on the rise, which could help any pro sport’s cause to play ball. The report said MLB would focus on acquiring primarily 24-hour tests rather than more rapid result testing. Any person or persons who test positive would be immediately quarantined, while those who’d been in contact will be more closely monitored.

Agent Scott Boras was a guest yesterday on “Inside Access” on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore with Jason LaCanfora and Ken Weinman. Boras told the hosts he believes baseball can have a season and keep its players healthy.

“We have a whole lot of baseball being operated for over 90 days in Korea and Taiwan and Japan, soccer in Spain and Germany, and it’s going to start up in England here in June, so we have a really good model,” said Boras. “For this age group, there has not been any hospitalization of any professional athletes that I’m aware of in the baseball world.

“The testing procedures, we know from the testing we’ve done in baseball from the USC and Stanford study, which included administration and players, that there is less than 1 percent of people that were even positive. That was done weeks after spring training. The point was that even then this class of age group and athlete, this virus is here and it’s got very high mortality rates for those that are in rest homes and contained environments and are of age and have underlying medical conditions. But for those that are in the age group of the athletes, the medical professionals are really directing everyone that this can be very safely managed. And that the rates of survival are near 100 percent and the hospitalization dynamics are well less than one percent. So the medical practitioners that we’ve been in communication with have really given this type of employee a very probable understanding of the viability of them doing this successfully.”

Click here to listen to the entire Boras interview on Baltimore radio.

Manfred on CNN: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was a guest on a CNN coronavirus global town hall last night and spoke about the potential return of baseball.

“I think it’s hopeful that we will have Major League Baseball this summer,” he said. “We are making plans about playing in empty stadiums. But all of those plans are dependent on what the public health situation is and us reaching the conclusion that it will be safe for our players and other employees to come back to work.”

Manfred was asked what happens if a player believes it’s too risky to play.

“We hope that we will be able to convince the vast, vast majority of our players that it’s safe to return,” he said. “The protocols for returning to play, the health-related protocols, are about 80 pages in length. They are extraordinarily detailed and cover everything from how the players will travel, private charters, how those charters have to be cleaned, who has access to the ballpark, strict limits on number of people. So we’ll hope to convince them that it’s safe.

“At the end of the day, however, if there are players with either health conditions, or just their own personal doubts, we would never try to force them to come back to work.”

Manfred was asked about the money aspect of this and how bad it would look for the game to fight over dollars right now.

“I think that, whenever there is a discussion about economics, publicly people tend to characterize it as a fight,” he said. “Me, personally, I have great confidence that we’ll reach an agreement with the Players Association. Both that it’s safe to come back to work and work out the economic issues that need to be resolved.”

Manfred said he spoke to the 18 governors of states where there are teams and that most governors told him that they would be able to use teams’ home stadiums. But he said they have contingency plans in place as well.

“If we don’t play a season, the losses for the [club] owners could approach $4 billion,” Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says about the economic impact of coronavirus on the sport. #CNNTownHall

-- CNN (@CNN) May 15, 2020

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