Lockout won’t stop Red Sox players from getting ready for 2022 season
Boston Red Sox players are preparing to play this season
The labor dispute between Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association threatens to delay the 2022 season but the Boston Red Sox are doing their best to remain on track with their routines so that they are prepared to play when the lockout ends.
Under normal circumstances, players would have already gathered in Fort Myers to begin training camp but the lockout prohibits them from having access to JetBlue Park. The Red Sox aren’t going to let that stop them from getting ready though.
According to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo, several players have gathered on the field at Florida Gulf Coast University, the alma mater of Chris Sale. The lefty is a significant donor to the school, which explains why he and his teammates have been granted access to the field to train while they are banned from the Red Sox facilities.
Nick Pivetta, Matt Barnes, Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski, and Jay Groome are among the pitchers who Cotillo spotted at FGCU. Crawford also attended the school prior to being selected by the Red Sox in the 2017 draft.
A few of these pitchers can be seen playing catch in a video shared by Cotillo. Barnes has also been streaming workouts live on his Instagram.
MLB has already cancelled spring training games due to the ongoing lockout. The exhibition schedule is currently slated to begin in March 5 with further delays possible if an agreement isn’t reached by the end of this month.
One of the concerns with a delayed spring training is that it won’t leave players sufficient time to prepare. Pitchers need time to gradually ramp up their workload, especially starters who need to build up to tossing 5+ innings without risking injury. They are typically given at least six weeks in training camp to prepare but MLB has already eliminated two weeks, assuming there’s still hope of avoiding a delay for Opening Day.
Hitters typically take less time to find their rhythm but we witnessed several of them struggle in 2020 when they were rushed through an abbreviated training camp to prepare for a shortened season. The interruption to their routine had a significantly negative impact on certain players, notably J.D. Martinez, who had the worst year of his career that season. An uncertain timeline on when the season would begin and limitations on how they could work out resulted in some players showing up out of shape and unprepared for the season.
The lockout presents similar obstacles that threaten to derail player performance early in the season. The difference this time is that players have an opportunity to gather on their own even if they aren’t allowed at team facilities. That wasn’t the case in 2020 when they were forced to quarantine during the early stages of the pandemic.
As one of the veteran leaders of this team, Sale took it upon himself to find a place for his teammates to work out in Fort Myers until the doors to JetBlue Park are open. The owners don’t appear to care about the consequences a limited spring training can have on players, at least not enough to surrender their leverage in negotiations. The Red Sox aren’t going to let that stop them from doing everything they can to get ready for when the season begins, whenever that may be.