Upstate pro’s eager for baseball’s return


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – As the baseball season remains in a state of limbo, minor league and major league players descended on Fluor Field Friday to get in some live action practice against fellow pro’s.

“For us this is like those early days of spring training that we typically have in February,” said Mike Freeman, a Cleveland Indians infielder and former Clemson Tiger.  

The players took turns going up against one another in a live batting practice. For many, it was the closest they’ve come to the real thing.

(Logan Davidson/A’s 2019 1st round pick) “Just any live pitching and to be able to jump straight to that, it’s really testing your abilities to say ‘hey where am I at? What do I need to do to get where I want to be?,” said Logan Davidson, a former Clemson standout who was selected in the first round of the 2019 draft by the Oakland A’s.

“You start to remind yourself that you’re a baseball player and can do what you’ve always been doing,” Freeman added. “So it’s been fun to get to do that up here.” 

Since spring training ended in March, athletes from all 30 MLB organizations have been eager to return to the diamond, in whatever way possible.

“We’re kind of ready to go now,” said Braves pitcher Chad Sobotka, a former USC Upstate Spartan. “I guess talks and hoping is that when we get that go time they give us two to three weeks to get down to, for me it’s Atlanta, or Florida, wherever it is.” 

Locker rooms remain empty at minor league and major league ballparks across the country as players await word on the fate of the season.

For now all they can do is stay positive.

“You know it’s a tough situation we’re going through,” said Sobotka. “Trying to stick together, I think, is the main thing for us players. But hopefully we can be on the field soon.” 

With Major League Baseball and the player’s association ramping up negotiations, some big news is expected soon. And these guys are doing their best to make sure they’re ready for any result.

“Whatever it’s going to be it’s going to be shorter for sure,” said Davidson. “So having to adapt is going to be tough, so that’s why this is going to be so helpful for guys that are here and able to get this and have this opportunity to come out here.”

While Friday’s simulation was a step in the right direction, an agreement to return to action would be the ultimate victory especially for those whose livelihoods depend on it.

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