ST. PETERSBURG — About a dozen Rays players took part Wednesday in the second day of limited workouts at Tropicana Field.
As on Monday, players were limited to playing catch, running on the field and doing light weight work and other exercises, with no access to mounds, batting cages, weight room or clubhouse. They had their temperature checked on the way in, wore masks except when working out and adhered to social distancing guidelines, working out in groups of two on a staggered schedule.
Still, they were baseball players doing baseball things on a baseball field.
“It was probably a little more relaxed in the fact that the guys who came Monday had a better understanding of what they were kind of signing up for,” manager Kevin Cash said.
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier was a new addition to the group Wednesday, and from the photos supplied by the Rays, it was clear he enjoyed being back.
“It felt great to see teammates, trainers, coaches and Cash,” Kiermaier said via text. "Was very happy to drive to the Trop once again, to have somewhat a regular feel from years past even though I knew it was going to be in and out in an hour time slot.
“Felt great being back out on that turf and running around like I’m used to. The Trop is my home away from home, so to be in the building once again put a smile on my face.”
The Rays are taking a cautious approach to the workouts (which are attended by limited staff and closed to the media) while waiting for more direction from Major League Baseball, as well as the status of talks between the league and players union on starting the season in July, which would include holding a second “spring” training in June.
A similar workout at the Trop will be held Friday, after which Cash and Rays executives will decide on loosening the restrictions for next week’s sessions, such as possibly allowing pitchers, or at least the starters and bulk relievers, to throw off the mound, and hitters to take some swings. They also are bringing more weights and exercise equipment on the field for players to use.