Boston interim manager Ron Roenicke has his coronavirus concerns, but will not let it stop him from doing his job with the Red Sox. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

 

Ron Roenicke understands the risks that come with returning to baseball in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Red Sox manager is comfortable enough to go through with it.

The 63-year-old Roenicke is already in Boston and did his intake testing Monday in advance of training camp beginning at Fenway Park this week. Assuming his results come back clean, he doesn’t seem to have any serious trepidation about managing this summer.

“I don’t have a lot of concerns for myself,” Roenicke said. “Of course I don’t want to get this thing but I think the protocols we’ve put into place have covered as much as we think we can cover. I think it’s always uncomfortable. It was uncomfortable when I was home in California going to the grocery store. Anytime I left the house was uncomfortable.

“So that’s going to be there. But our people I know have put so much into place in trying to protect myself, all the coaches and players that we feel pretty good coming in.”

The Twins on Monday informed 68-year-old bullpen coach Bob McClure and 66-year-old major league coach Bill Evers that they would not be working this season due to COVID-19 fears. They made the decision after looking into the health histories of all their staff members, in which they took age and pre-existing medical conditions into effect.
But Roenicke, who turns 64 in August, said he feels healthy. And he’s in regular communication with Red Sox trainer Brad Pearson and the team’s medical director, Dr. Larry Ronan, about safe practices and ways to be smart as he gets back to work.

“I’m really not that concerned … I still don’t feel I’m old, I guess,” Roenicke said. “I feel good health-wise. My doctors all say I’m healthy. I feel good that way. Obviously it’s a concern because you don’t know how it affects different people. Whether you’re 20 years old or whether you’re 63 as I am, you still have to be concerned about trying to stay away from it and certainly the people that are older than I am, we’re worried about them. …

“And we’re doing as much as we can and like I said, we’ve put in so much into place here … hopefully we can stay as clean as possible. We know it’s there. We know players are going to get it. So we’ll just go along as business and try to figure out this very difficult schedule.”

SOX EXPECT FULL PARTICIPATION

As some players across baseball have begun to opt out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus, the Red Sox still expect full participation when preparations begin.

Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said last week that he expects all players to report Wednesday for intake testing before the first day of workouts Friday at Fenway, and Roenicke said the same.

“I don’t know any of our guys who are on the fence about playing,” Roenicke said. “They’ve told me that they’re ready to go. Is there a couple guys that are concerned? Yeah, there is. But as far as I know, what they’ve told me from today, yesterday, the day before, that I expect everybody to come in.”
Diamondbacks reliever Mike Leake on Monday became the first known MLB player to decide to sit out the season. Shortly after, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman also opted out of the season, citing the risks of COVID-19 and how it could affect his family.

AGREEMENT CLOSE WITH BC

Roenicke said that the Red Sox are likely to use Boston College as a secondary site for training camp, but the details are still being sorted out.

“We still haven’t finalized things but it looks like we’re going to be able to use BC and that’s because of the number of people you bring in, it’s hard to do it on just one field,” Roenicke said.

Roenicke said that pitchers who are throwing will report to Fenway that day, while the pitchers who aren’t throwing will go to BC to do other work and conditioning. The amount of hours the Red Sox can utilize the BC facilities for is still being negotiated, Roenicke said.

VERDUGO IN GREAT SHAPE

New Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is expected to be ready for Opening Day after getting over a back injury, and it turns out he may be even more ready than some other players.

“He’s probably farther along than all of them,” Roenicke said. “This guy has been doing his rehab assignment and hitting in the cage, on the field, probably more than anybody has, so I feel good with where he is. Hopefully there won’t be any setbacks with him in these three weeks, and he’ll be ready to go.”

NOTES

Roenicke said new Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh, who is working back from an elbow injury, is scheduled for his first bullpen session on Friday. … Roenicke expects catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who was not included in the Red Sox’ initial player pool, to be at Fenway on Wednesday for testing. … The Red Sox are trying to schedule one or two exhibition games before the season starts on July 23 or 24, but will almost certainly have several intrasquad games throughout camp, Roenicke said.


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