baseball

Padres Approach to 2020: Move Fast But be Safe

Friars taking aggressively cautious approach to prepare for a 60-game sprint

The Padres only have three weeks to get ready for the 2020 season so players had better have come to Spring Training 2.0 in the best shape possible. It appears they've done that for the most part.

"(I've been) getting pretty good feedback from the coaches, the strength coaches, the trainers, on what kind of shape they're in," says Padres manager Jayce Tingler. "But we all know there's a difference between being in the gym and running shape, and having to stand on your feet for three outs, go back and forth, start, stop, sprint, stand around again ... just the challenges of baseball. So we've got to get into that type of feel and shape and the only way to do that is we've gotta rep some games out and get some game action."

That started on their very first full day back and will continue throughout the season's reboot. It's very much like a regular season schedule: workouts and batting practice in the afternoon, intrasquad game of variable length in the evening.

"The innings are going to vary depending on how much pitching we have that night and how each individual pitcher is building up," says Tingler. "Some days it's a 4-inning game and some days we'll obviously do 9-inning games."

The players who aren't involved in the game at Petco Park will get their work in over at Fowler Field at the University of San Diego. The Padres are going to utilize multiple different options to make sure their arms are ready for a 60-game season.

"It's a definite balance of where the starting pitchers are and how many outings do they need over these next 21 days and how many innings can we get them built up to Opening Day versus the challenges of some of the bullpen arms, being able to make sure some of our bullpen guys can go multiple innings," says Tingler.

That issue is mitigated slightly by Major League teams being able to carry 30 players instead of 26 for the first two weeks of the regular season. While most of the focus on safety has been aimed at pitching staffs the Padres are keeping in mind there's a transition period for position players, as well. They're also susceptible to injury if brought back the wrong way.

"Getting them enough at-bats, getting them on their feet, making sure we're in shape without pushing them too hard," says Tingler. "We're going to have a buildup. We've not coming out and playing nine innings off the bat. It's no secret we want to move as fast as we can, as quick as we can, but we need to do that safely."

Also, as of the start of their July 4th workout no other players or coaches had tested positive for COVID-19. Outfielder Tommy Pham is away from the club as he isolates after a positive test.

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