Angels GM believes his players will be ready to play whenever season starts

Numerous videos have been streaming into the folders on Angels General Manager Billy Eppler’s phone for the past two weeks. Clips of players running sprints on hills, others shedding hills, one taking part in a Wiffle Ball fundraiser in Arizona a week after Major League Baseball and other leagues suspended operations in the wake of the new corona virus outbreak.

All the images and the accompanying conversations have proven one thing to Eppler: the athletes whose seasons were essentially sunk by the rapid spread of a dangerous disease are at least flexible.

So when asked at a conference call on Tuesday if he was concerned that Angels players would lose their motivation if they wait for a decision on when MLB will resume activity, if at all, Eppler stated, “No.”

“They obviously want to play outside,” he said. “They want to do things, live that dream. But they also take good account of what is happening in the world. Many boys have families. They also have such a house to keep in order.

“I’ve seen some clips and videos of some guys and they get creative in how they keep themselves in shape and check the” Drive to Compete “box that many of these guys have. I’m not at a point I’m concerned about create, because again, they are resilient and adaptable. “

Of course, there is little the players can do to counter a shutdown that will be the two-week Thursday, originally planned as the opening day of baseball.

The interruption lasts for at least another two weeks, if not a few months. Training facilities across the country have been closed in accordance with government procurement. Even Angel Stadium is not open to training.

The only players allowed in team facilities are those recovering from injuries, including right-handed Griffin Canning and designated hitter and pitcher Shohei Ohtani. Both are treated for their elbows: Canning is recovering from a platelet-rich plasma injection he received this month, and Ohtani is still recovering after Tommy John surgery in 2018.

The angels are scattered, most of them back in their off-season homes with a small group of others near the team’s spring workout in Arizona. But they find ways to make ends meet on an individual basis. For example, pitchers have revised their winter throwing arrangements to find catchers who can help them with bullpen sessions. Hitters have returned to their batting cage routines.

The limitations are challenging. For example, the angels had to deliver baseballs to players who had no access to it.

But Eppler is confident that players will continue to take the indefinite hiatus.

“That’s one of the things you learn to play – especially playing baseball and then playing in the minor leagues,” he said. “In those environments, you have to constantly adapt and adapt. All that training can be useful for these guys because they are putting themselves back into that kind of mindset right now and saying, ‘What’s my best mood right now?’

“It’s different for everyone, but they’ve all been in that place. So that’s how many of them generally deal with this setback now that our sport is facing, but frankly it’s something on a global scale that none of is unknown to us. “

When MLB decides on his next steps, Eppler said the angels will be ready to adapt. Teams should get something similar to spring training for a few weeks, which normally lasts 1.5 months.

“We make every amount of time we get,” Eppler said. MLB can do so much to help clubs. If we are given a shorter time to prepare, one of the considerations may be a larger selection. I think there are some things that people can discuss and get our players and put us in a position where we don’t endanger people, but we can start playing sooner than later. I think that’s what everyone would like. “

Short hop

Eppler said that no Angels players or associates have shown symptoms related to COVID-19. … Canning, a Southern California native who was shut down this month, is expected to resume throwing in Anaheim sometime next week. … Ohtani is expected to resume hill-throwing within two weeks. He reached about 90% intensity in bullpen sessions prior to the shutdown.

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