Significant hurdles remain in negotiations between Major League Baseball and its players, but the Marlins anticipate an eventual start to the 2020 season. They are gearing up for Spring Training 2.0, South Florida radio host Andy Slater first reported Monday afternoon. The Marlins’ complex in Jupiter is hosting optional workouts for 40-man roster players beginning on Tuesday. Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald confirms the news while clarifying that they’ll be limited to individual workouts.
SLATER SCOOP: Marlins will allow their 40-man roster players to return to their spring training facility in Jupiter, FL on Tuesday.— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) May 18, 2020
Players can use the batting cages and throw off the mound, I'm told.
The clubhouse and rest of facility will be closed.
There will not be any media outlets present, according to WPLG’s Will Manso. Hopefully, we get a glimpse of the action through social media accounts associated with the Fish.
The other MLB team in the state of Florida, the Tampa Bay Rays, hasn’t reopened their facility yet, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
As a refresher, here is the current 40-man roster, a combination of 2019 holdovers, veteran offseason acquisitions and top prospects who had been on track to debut in the near future.
However, those players do not fully represent the 2020 team. Prior to the league shutting down, the Marlins still had 16 non-roster invitees in big league camp. In particular, right-hander Brad Boxberger was believed to be a virtual lock for the Opening Day roster while left-hander Alex Vesia was gaining momentum with one scoreless outing after another. When will they be able to reunite with the rest of the squad?
The travel logistics could be complex at a time when COVID-19 has drastically reduced the number of domestic and international flights. While we have seen some Marlins like Jorge Alfaro, Harold Ramirez, Lewis Brinson, Pablo López and Jordan Yamamoto working out together locally, many others went back home in March to different regions of the U.S. or the Dominican Republic. Even manager Don Mattingly has been in his native Indiana with his immediate family for the last two-plus months.
Thousands of MLB employees were recently tested for COVID-19 antibodies in a study run by Stanford University, but the Marlins were among only a few teams that declined participation. Presumably, they will (or have already) arranged another way for their players to be tested before reporting to Jupiter...right?
An exciting development, nonetheless, with plenty of updates to follow here on Fish Stripes!