ST. PETERSBURG — And on the third day, they looked like a real baseball team.
Following two days of small groups and individualized workouts at Tropicana Field, the Rays doubled their participants for the morning session on Sunday and had several players working in unison for infield drills.
“Pretty high energy with the infielders,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We tried to get their heart rate up a little bit.”
Having divided workouts into four groups the first couple of days, the Rays tightened it up with two larger groups on Sunday. And because the pitchers had a lighter workload, Cash said the position players were able to utilize more of the field.
In the first session, Nate Lowe and Yandy Diaz took grounders at third, with Mike Brosseau at shortstop and Ji-Man Choi at first base. The second session had Daniel Robertson and Willy Adames at shortstop with Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle at second base.
Even with twice as many players working out at the same time, there was still ample spacing with the pitchers being housed in the visitor’s clubhouse.
“Our original concern was we didn’t want guys just sitting in their lockers,” Cash said. “But even with the added number of bodies with two bigger groups today, we didn’t see the clubhouse filling up.”
A pandemic entrepreneur
Ji-Man Choi has been wearing a mask and protective goggles during workouts and said he may continue during the regular season.
“I’m trying them on right now, because I want to be cautious,” Choi said through interpreter Steve Nam.
That’s not Choi’s only means of protection. The 1B/DH also has his own brand of sanitizer, as seen in an Instagram post in June.
“Someone that I knew made hand sanitizer, and she thought it would be a great idea to make a personal one and give it out to my teammates,” Choi said through the interpreter.
Tampa Bay Times beat writer Marc Topkin asked Choi if he would provide sanitizer to reporters.
“If you guys want some, he’ll definitely sell it to you for $10 a bottle,” Nam laughed while interpreting.
“No tax,‘' Choi added in English.
MLB is expected to release the 2020 schedule this week, perhaps as soon as Monday. An early draft had the Rays opening up at home on July 24 against the Blue Jays … The same 29 players that worked out on Saturday were also seen on the field on Sunday. That left Randy Arozarena, Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow, Jose Martinez, Austin Meadows and Chaz Roe unaccounted for. Meadows was on the field for Friday’s workouts. The Rays have not commented on why players were absent, or even if they were working out of sight … Hunter Renfroe and Yoshi Tsutsugo were both hitting tape-measure homers during batting practice.
Quote of the day
“His videos of a 100-mph, nasty sinker are everywhere, so I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.”
Reliever Nick Anderson on the possible benefits of a rebound season for Jose Alvarado in the bullpen.
John Romano can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @romano_tbtimes.