MLB Spring Training Still a Hot Ticket in Arizona | Sports news

0
184

BY DAVID BRANDT, AP Sports journalist

PHOENIX (AP) – Even during a pandemic, the appetite to sit in the sun and watch the spring practice of Major League Baseball seems sturdy.

The Arizona Diamondbacks sold out in less than 24 hours of being sold to the public. Around 2,200 tickets were sold for all of the team’s 14 home games. Fans were divided into two, four, or six seats in the park, and masks are required except when eating or drinking.

That is 20 percent of the stadium’s normal capacity of 11,000 people.

“The fact that it sold out as quickly as it was – that pisses me off,” said Torey Lovullo, Arizona manager. “We were looking forward to this day as much as she was.”

The Colorado Rockies, who share the Salt River Fields facility with the D-Backs, also no longer have tickets for their home games. The two teams will open their spring training plan against each other next Sunday. Spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida have made their own decisions about how many, if any, fans can attend games.

Arizona pitchers Zac Gallen and Stefan Crichton said it would be a welcome change to have fans in the park. All 30 teams played without fans during the pandemic-cut schedule of 60 games in 2020. Limited fans were allowed in the postseason.

“Hopefully we can continue to take steps to fill the stadiums,” said Crichton.

In the past few weeks, new cases of COVID-19 have emerged in Arizona, just like most of the country. Lovullo said his team will continue to strictly adhere to league protocols, but watching fans is another reminder that baseball could possibly be a little more “normal” in 2021.

“We missed our fans,” said Lovullo. “Not just Diamondbacks fans, but baseball fans across the United States. We lost a little connection. We did what we could in Arizona in our own special way to keep in touch with our core group of fans, but the fact that they’re out there and sold out doesn’t surprise me at all.

“The fans have been waiting patiently for these days.”

Seasoned Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond opts for a second straight season.

Desmond announced on his Instagram account on Sunday that his “desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under the circumstances. I will train and watch how things go. “He added” for now “to his statement to log out and left the door open for a possible return.

Desmond, 35, is in the final year of a $ 70 million five-year deal he signed in December 2016. He is reported to have made $ 8 million this season. Colorado has a $ 15 million option in 2022 with a $ 2 million buyout.

Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg is ready to return after a nerve problem on his wrist ended his 2020 season after five innings.

The Nationals ace said the problem immediately disappeared after a 15-minute carpal tunnel surgery.

He said Sunday that the pre-surgery injury would worsen every time he threw a baseball, and “basically from numbness in my thumb to numbness in my whole hand.”

The 2019 World Series MVP was preparing for this season much earlier than usual. He made a light catch on November 1st instead of mid-December and cast bullpens in early January instead of the end of the month.

“In terms of endurance and endurance, I feel a lot further than I have in years past,” he said. “I wanted to give myself a little more time to work on some mechanical things and be ready to start on day one.”

SANCHEZ SIGN WITH GIANT

Right-handed Aaron Sanchez signed a $ 4 million one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants on Sunday. With that, the club has another experienced starter who joins Johnny Cueto.

The Giants said Sanchez could earn up to $ 2.5 million more in performance awards depending on the launch: $ 250,000 each for 16 and 18 starts and $ 500,000 each for 20, 22, 24 and 26 games started. He has been plagued by injuries in recent years.

The 28-year-old Sanchez has not pitched since 2019. He has suspended last year’s shortened season and recovered from surgery on his pitching shoulder. He went 5-14 with a 5.89 ERA over 27 starts and 131 1/3 innings for Toronto and Houston.

AP sports writers Pat Graham and Howard Fendrich contributed to this story.

More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/MLB

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.