Boston Red Sox’s Rich Hill: MLB lockdown will delay spring training ‘unless something bad happens’ in coming weeks

It sure looks like players are starting to prepare for MLB’s ongoing lockdown to delay spring training — and potentially the start of the regular season.

Appearing on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight podcast with Buster Olney, Red Sox left-hander Rich Hill said he was “disheartened” by the lack of progress in negotiations between the league and the MLB Players Association in recent weeks. Although the parties met on two consecutive days earlier this week, no agreement is reached. Hill believes this will lead to delaying and/or truncating spring training – which is supposed to start in mid-February.

“I’m not really looking forward to pushing back spring training,” Hill told Olney. “I think that’s ultimately what’s going to happen unless something drastic happens in the next two weeks here where we finally come to a decision and both sides have some Kumbaya and we can move on. I think by pushing back spring training you put guys at risk for injury during the season and the other side as well is the development of guys moving up into the minor leagues.

While the Red Sox have yet to release a date when pitchers and receivers will report to camp in Fort Myers, that’s around the time of year players start arriving at the Fenway South complex. . In 2020, pitchers and catchers reported Feb. 11; last year, due to COVID-19 concerns, the report date was a week later.

If the camp is shortened, it will be the second time in three years that players will have to rush to prepare for opening day. In 2020, after the pandemic delayed the start of the season until late July, teams held a three-week “summer camp” at their baseball diamonds to prepare for the season. Hill, who believes pitchers and hitters would suffer from a limited build, hopes to avoid history repeating itself.

“It always works with regular spring training. Now with a shortened spring training, with a three-week schedule, I think we’re going to run into some issues,” he said. “Unless something is done with what they did in 2020 with adding another player to the roster – I think that’s something that should be looked at, especially for the health of the players. players.”

Right now, there seems to be a legitimate chance that Red Sox players won’t congregate in Fort Myers until March and that Opening Day (scheduled for March 31 at Fenway Park) is also in jeopardy. Significant labor progress is the only thing that could move the needle.

“Unfortunately, the health of baseball as a whole is going to suffer if we can’t really make decisions quickly,” Hill said.

Related links:

MLB lockdown update: Players Association and league to meet for second straight day on Tuesday (report)

Boston Red Sox prospect Triston Casas on power: ‘I’ve always looked for on-base percentage as opposed to slugging percentage’

Boston Red Sox prospect Triston Casas knows his MLB debut could be in 2022: ‘I hope I get a one-way ticket’

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