ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The clock is ticking for the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of Major League Baseball. Tampa Bay broke Summer Camp Friday morning at Tropicana Field.
Thirty-seven players were scheduled to work out, but not all of them reported. Manager Kevin Cash didn't offer details.
He did say that he'll have to find some creative ways for his field players to get their legs back.
"I think we’re taking this first five to seven days to gauge where everybody is at from a physical standpoint," Cash said via Zoom call. "We’re gonna have some [simulated] games. We might not have eight players behind pitcher at that point. But we’ll have enough bodies out there to simulate some innings."
Infielder Yandy Diaz said he didn't leave his house very much over the past couple of months, but he's ready to get back to playing-shape as soon as possible.
"I’ve just got to prepare myself the best I can," Diaz said after batting practice. "Obviously, with the unusual circumstance, we have to prepare a little quicker. I’m going to do everything I can physically and mentally to be prepared for this."
Each team hopes the 60-game regular season gets underway as planned on July 23 and 24. Rays pitcher Blake Snell thinks their rotation is built to win in a shortened schedule.
"I’m definitely excited for what we’re going to be able to accomplish this year," Snell said Friday morning. "It’s a team full of talent. For us to have a shorter season, it definitely favors us."
Players and team staff wore masks and/or socially distanced for the duration of the four-hour workout. The Rays worked out in four different groups to minimize traffic on the field. All post-workout interviews will be held via video chat, with members of the media socially distanced in the press box and the players answering questions outside the clubhouse.