While nothing about Major League Baseball's 2020 season is guaranteed, especially as owners and players continue to negotiate a financial framework, those talks have offered something: The league has July 4 circled. If there is a season, it will start on or very close to that date.
That makes Oscar Marin's job a bit easier, as the Pirates' new pitching coach can now focus on rebuilding his staff's arm strength.
How big a task will that be?
“We didn’t shut it down ever, really," Marin told me via a phone interview. "As the guys left camp and went back, they spent about a week to try to find a place to throw… within that second week, we had already started throwing.”
The Pirates began throwing live batting practice again recently as pitchers start to build up arm strength ahead of camp. Starters are currently in a normal five-day routine, throwing a live batting practice and then a side session two days later, just as they would during the season. Relievers are starting to throw two side sessions per week.
“By the time we could potentially be together, the starters would have three to four live BPs [and could pitch] up to about three or four innings," Marin said. "Our relievers should have faced hitters at least three times before they show up.”
Though it is far from official, MLB is hoping for players to return to camp around June 10. Marin also anticipates for camp to resume then.