While Major League Baseball inches toward a return to action, the Tampa Bay Rays took a small step in the right direction. On Monday, the Rays held limited workouts at Tropicana Field, with 14 players participating.
“It was good to see some smiling faces,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash.
Outfielder Austin Meadows and shortstop Willy Adames both attended the workout. Also, a couple of new additions practiced in center fielder Manuel Margot and first baseman Jose Martinez.
It's good to be back. pic.twitter.com/7jx0HTN8na
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 25, 2020
Safety measures in place at practice
As exciting as a return to practice is, the team could not practice in the same capacity. Coaches and players practiced proper safety precautions in order for the workout to happen.
Before entering the facility, players and staff received medical questions and temperature readings that determined their health. Team members used a hand-washing station and sanitizer bottle as well. Everyone wore protective masks, including the players until they worked out.
The Rays staggered the coaches and staff present during different points in the workout. As a result, Cash missed the first two pitchers. However, he still witnessed many of his other players in action.
“I saw a handful of pitchers and position players,” Cash said. “I think they were excited just to get back to something that they are used to, given that it was such unusual circumstances.”
In other ways, the workout seemed very similar to normal practice. Cash explained what workouts the players were able to do, such as playing catch or conditioning.
Other teams join Rays in opening up facilities
The Rays are one of a few teams in the early stages of opening back up their stadiums in preparation for the 2020 season. Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, opened up Monday for individual players. Also, the team opened their Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In Los Angeles, the Angels and the Dodgers are opening some of their facilities. Teams will begin to reopen stadiums more enthusiastically once a return date is set for the MLB.
Sound used in this story courtesy of ESPN and ABC Newscall.