Greetings to you on this final Monday of June. I took a week off to drink heavily and sleep in a tent in an area where cell service does not exist, and returned to a 60-game MLB season. Had I known my journey to the woods would be the catalyst for the start of the 2020 season I would have subjected my body to the physical torture of sleeping fitfully on hard ground while being intermittently awakened by strange sounds of wildlife much earlier in this delayed season. My back says you’re welcome.
We have a 60-man roster
The Tigers, along with every other major league club, have submitted their 60-man roster ahead of the truncated 2020 season, and there’s some fun located therein. The initial offering listed only 58 spots, one of which is pegged for Spencer Torkelson once he signs his contract. The other is up in the air. The only other 2020 draftee to get a spot was Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler.
There are some notable names on this list: Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, Riley Greene, and Isaac Paredes, just to name a few. How many of these guys see action in the shortened 2020 season is a big question mark, but the possibility is exciting enough.
The Tigers added another college bat to the stable on Friday night when they signed first baseman/outfielder Trevin Esquerra. Esquerra played four years at Loyola Marymount. A switch hitter, his junior season — his last full year of baseball — saw him bat .322 with 16 home runs.
Ready for risks
We may be at an accelerated pace to start the season, but Matthew Boyd will tell you that he’s tuned up and ready to throw as many innings as the team may need. Currently sitting at five innings in a simulated outing at Comerica Park, Boyd is ready to do what is needed.
“It’s our obligation as players,” he said. “We’ve got to be ready as players as best we can. We’re going to have what, 12 starts? You have to go crazy in all 12 and leave it all out there.”
Boyd has been staying sharp, and expects around three training camp starts. After that he says he’ll be ready to roll on opening day with no restrictions.
Boyd says this is the same regimen the rest of the staff is following in their various training areas around the country and that when the time comes, everyone will be ready to play.
He sees the season as a sprint, not the normal 162 game slog and thinks there is opportunity there.
“It’s exciting that it’s a (60-game) sprint,” Boyd said. “The knock on our team has been that we’re young and can’t handle 162 games. That takes experience. Well, this season is short, it’s a sprint. And we do have talent. Who knows what can come from this.
Regardless of the outcome, Boyd is ready to get things going.
Ron Gardenhire has been focused on a bit of a different type of preparation. There are a variety of safety rules that apply to players and non-playing personnel alike. One of the big things for non-players is the requirement of wearing a mask. Gardy isn’t quite sure if that applies to him yet, but if it does he’s ready to follow whatever rules are necessary to play the game.
“If I have to wear a mask, that’s definitely going to be really different,” he said, “but if that’s what it takes to keep myself healthy and everybody else healthy, that’s what we’ll do.”
Beyond that are myriad other steps that are going to be taken to assure a season that operates as safely as possible. There likely won’t be fans, and even with all the steps there will be risks, but Gardy puts his faith in those who know what needs to be done.
“I’ve had cancer and been a diabetic,” Gardenhire said. “I look for people to take care of us that have the knowledge. The doctors and our trainers are letting us know all the information we need, and we’ll go by that.
One of the casualties of the process that was defining the 60-man roster was reliever Alex Wilson. Wilson had a history with Detroit from 2015 to 2018 and signed a minor league deal this spring after bouncing around with a few different teams in 2019. Wilson, one of the more reliable relievers for the Tigers during his tenure was working on a new sidearm delivery shortly before things got shut down in the spring. Here’s hoping he catches on somewhere.
Around the horn
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