Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius said Wednesday that his fate in free agency this offseason with economic uncertainty and only 60 games to re-prove himself isn’t something he is worried about because it’s largely out of his control. However, the 30-year-old is going out of his way to make sure he remains as healthy as possible as COVID-19 looms over the 2020 season.
Gregorius, who is at a higher risk if he were to contract COVID-19 because of underlying health issues, says that he plans to wear a mask at all times during the 2020 season.
“For me, this one feels pretty good, it has a built in filter,” Gregorius said of his mask. “I’m definitely wearing it in games, because I take it as safety for everybody, me and people around me. So I think wearing it will be normal for me, that’s why I’m wearing it now, so I can get accustomed to it.”
“I do have a chronic kidney disease, and I still have that, it doesn’t go away – I have that for life,” Gregorius added. “I had really good conversations with the doctors here since I’m one of the high-risk players. We had a really good conversation and they asked me every day what they can do to make it better for me. So we’ve had really good communication and try to do everything we have to do to stay safe. So that’s why people see me wearing it around and walking around with a mask, keeping myself safe everywhere I go.”
Rhys Hoskins has suggested that he will keep a mask in his back pocket, and may, as he did in Tuesday night’s intersquad game, put it on when he is holding a runner on at first base. Nick Williams experimented with multiple different masks during Tuesday’s game. Would Gregorius prefer that all of his teammates wear masks?
“I can’t force a person to wear their mask,” Gregorius said. “But, I mean, wearing one is for everybody’s safety. I prefer that everybody wear it because it makes it better, but you have to get the right one to wear too while you’re playing so that you can breathe normally. If you’re wearing a mask that you can’t breathe through, it’s going to be hard to breathe with it. I don’t know if we’re even going to be allowed to play with it, but I’m planning on playing with it, with or without it being a rule.”
Every person – be it players or coaches – that has been asked has spoken highly of how safe Citizens Bank Park is currently and the job Joe Girardi has done installing a culture that takes the threat of COVID-19 very seriously and understands that one slip up could ruin the season and, more importantly, have serious affects on the health of high-risk players and coaches. Gregorius echoed those sentiments in his meeting with the media Wednesday.
The real tests will come when the Phillies travel to areas of the country where protocols aren’t as strict and clubs, bars and in-person dining at restaurants are available. 10 of the Phillies 60 regular season games in 2020 will be played in the state of Florida. According to the Johns Hopkins Resource Center, Miami-Dade County alone has 72,317 confirmed actives cases of the virus, and that obviously doesn’t count those that have elected not to seek medical treatment or are asymptomatic but could still be shedding virus.
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