Johnson keeps tabs on his players’ health as well as he can from afar and monitors how they are keeping their arms in shape. Not every pitcher has access to a catcher, a mound or even an indoor place to throw.
“In terms of monitoring what guys can and can’t do, there are just so many things right now that are unknown and unprecedented,” he said. “We have guys all over the country and in a couple of different countries. In some places, they can train a little more than others. We have guys who are stuck right now and don’t have a whole lot of places to train.”
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A big question for Johnson and his pitchers is how long will they need to get in shape once baseball does return. He said the six starting pitchers in big-league camp, including Tyler Mahle, who was competing for a spot, were throwing between 57 and 65 pitches in games when spring training was delayed. They would have progressed to 75-80 pitches and then 90-95 before the season opener.
Relievers had made five or six appearances and would have made around 10 by Opening Day.
The whole staff, Johnson said, was “right on course, right where we wanted them to be.”
How much time they’ll need when training resumes depends on the length of the layoff.
“The longer this thing goes, the more time they’ll need to be built up,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, everyone understands this could be one of those situations where injuries could become a huge factor if we don’t do it the right way.”