MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Baseball is back as the Miami Marlins take the field for the first time since sports took a hiatus due to the coronavirus.
Marlins skipper Don Mattingly says some members of the organization have tested positive for the virus, but he can’t go into details.
It’s two different worlds at Marlins Park. Outside there is a line of cars for COVID-19 testing. Inside on the diamond, players are returning to the field.
Extra precautions are being taken. From players wearing masks to media members keeping their distance.
“You could see that guys are legitimately excited about being back. I’m sure they have fears and are dealing with a lot of change. Just the protocol and testing. We have to show up at a certain time and go through the testing. What you have to do inside you know all that’s different,” said Mattingly.
Mattingly says he feels comfortable coming to the park, but it’s hard not to notice changes. Like staggered practices with different groups of players, split locker rooms, and what was once the Clevelander Bar is now an outdoor gym.
“Our routine may be haphazard-looking, but it will be some sort of a routine but then the going home part. I think that’s the part that’s going to be the hardest thing, especially right here in South Florida. Obviously we’re seeing a spike,” said Mattingly.
Miami is working with a roster made up of 57 players.
Day one was light work with some fielding and batting practice.
The fish will have to trim that number down to 30 for opening day. They are not ready for that just yet or the 60-game sprint of a season. Day one was all about getting into a routine.
“Our opportunity is right here and I feel like we’re going to have to hold guys back, honestly to keep them from doing too much early on — to kind of slow that excitement to make sure we use the full three weeks to kind of get guys in shape and don’t let them go too far too fast,” added Mattingly.
The season doesn’t have an official start date just yet, but it will either be July 23rd or 24th.