When 1:10 p.m. CT was set to come around Thursday, Brandon Woodruff was set to switch modes from spring training preparation to letting it all go with his projected first start of the year for the Milwaukee Brewers on Opening Day.
Instead, he has to switch from training throws to his wife on the street of his rural Mississippi home to practicing his pitching at a nearby high school, with safe social distancing in mind during the coronavirus pandemic which has halted baseball and so many other elements of society in order to save lives.
“It’s crazy times right now. It’s something we’ve never had to go through,” said Woodruff to Greg Matzek on 94.5 ESPN’s “The Power Lunch.”
Woodruff told Greg he saw a bit of the writing on the wall when the NBA suspended its season, and then MLB suspended spring training operations.
But it was his return to home that brought things full circle for him about the dangers of coronavirus.
“When I got home, there really weren’t that many cases…but they were both at the hospital where I live. That’s when I started to realize ‘Man, this is getting pretty real,’ ” he admitted.
“People are trying to take this serious and practice social distancing and get rid of this.”
So it leads to Woodruff’s wife becoming his training catcher during these workouts, newly planned for him by Brewers staff for this unplanned off-season.
“She’s been a trooper and has got a pretty good arm on her,” said Woodruff.
“We get out to a distance where she can’t throw it anymore. We pretty much throw it out in the street in our neighborhood.”
As he keeps his throwing arm limber, he also is keeping abreast of when and how the 2020 MLB season will finally commence – including the possibility of numerous doubleheaders with seven-inning games.
“You would have to do that in the minor leagues if there was a rain-out. Something that wouldn’t be uncommon to most players, but a weird situation in the big leagues playing two games, seven innings…but man, I could get a complete game in seven innings,” he quipped.
“That’s been the thing right now, what’s being discussed between the players, the owners and MLB. We want to play as many games as we can. The fans, they want to come out and watch the games as bad as we want to play them.”
So as he conducts his workout program, he waits for the day when finally, he, the Brewers and millions of baseball fans around the world can finally hear “Play Ball.”
“Hopefully this whole thing is over sooner than later.”