‘Let’s play baseball. Enough is enough’: Inside the Vanderbilt workouts that replace spring training

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The training schedule prescribed by the San Francisco Giants staff covered 10 weeks, but this is week 11 of the owners’ lockout and those instructions are past their expiration date. Because club employees are prohibited from having contact with players, the Giants Curt Casali and Mike Yastrzemski are cobbling together a daily regimen at Vanderbilt University, among the major leaguers who gather here at the baseball complex most days this winter.

For a spring training with an uncertain start date.

For a season that may or may not happen.

“Maybe we should start over,” Casali jokes, between sets of weightlifting. Later, he will throw batting practice to Yastrzemski, who in turn will throw pitches to Casali, as Phil Gosselina free-agent veteran infielder who can’t sign with a team until the lockout ends.

“This is torture,” Yastrzemski says, scooping up baseballs between rounds of batting practice. “Let’s go play baseball. Enough is enough.”

Last Monday, Feb. 21, would have been the day many teams would have held their first full-team workouts at their respective spring training sites. Pitching platoons conversing during fielding practice drills as outfield coordinators check their watches to advance in groups. Position players would take ground balls and fly balls, then enter sunlit batting cages to perfect their swings before Opening Day, with the promise of many tomorrows.

But on this day, no one knows what tomorrow will bring for professional baseball. Spring training is a concept, a hope, not a fact. So Casali and Yastrzemski are among a dozen major leaguers holding unstructured morning workouts before most of Vanderbilt’s players finish classes and take over.

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‘Let’s play baseball. Enough is enough’: Inside the Vanderbilt workouts that replace spring training