Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is back working out at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers, and when the 2020 Major League Baseball season does resume, he feels like he’ll be good to go.
Speaking with reporters via conference call on Monday afternoon for the first time since spring training was suspended in March, Verdugo said he is “physically…100%” after fully recovering from the stress fracture in his lower back.
“I feel very good just moving around with everything,” said the 23-year-old. “My swing, my throwing, running. I feel really good. The complex shut down for three weeks when the whole coronavirus and all that started coming out. So I still stayed active at home. I was hitting, throwing a little bit and working out. But obviously didn’t have the amount of resources I do at the facility.”
Here’s some video of Verdugo working out at home in Fort Myers:
From there, Verdugo was able to get back into the facility last week after the Red Sox opened it back up following a brief shutdown period due to a minor-leaguer testing positive for COVID-19 on March 24th.
“When I got back…we took it slow again,” he said. “We just kind of ramped it back up, just seeing how the three weeks, how my body kind of looked and how it felt to my trainers.”
Here’s some video of Verdugo working out at the JetBlue Park complex:
When the Red Sox acquired Verdugo, as well as prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong, from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts and David Price trade in February, they were already aware of the young outfielder’s ailment. Had the 2020 season began as originally planned on March 26th, he probably would not have been ready for Opening Day.
Now, with the start date of the season still up in the air, Verdugo could be ready to start right away.
“I feel like we’re back on track,” he said. “Whenever the season starts, I think I’ll be ready. Whether that is soon, whether it’s a few months down the road or whatever that may be. I think physically I’m ready.”
While he is training every day like there is going to be a season and working out Fenway South four times a week, Verdugo is regularly checking in with Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke “every one or two weeks.” The training staff he is working with at JetBlue is also sending video to Roenicke and hitting coach Tim Hyers.
“I’m going to keep preparing and training and keeping my mind sharp so I’m already mentally locked in and physically ready to go for it,” said Verdugo.
As he came over from the Dodgers earlier in the year, the Arizona native admitted that being traded was at first difficult for him but he now views the move “as a blessing.”
With his new club, Verdugo expects to be as productive as ever, adding “I think I’m at such a good position mentally and physically. I’m just ready to go and just play. I know if I play and I feel the way I feel right now, my numbers will be what they always have been.”
Once touted as one of the best outfield prospects in baseball, Verdugo slashed .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI over 106 games played for Los Angeles in 2019.
The centerpiece in the aforementioned deal that sent soon-to-be free agent Mookie Betts to southern California, Verdugo did say that it would be “pretty crazy” and “pretty nuts” if his counterpart never played a game for the Dodgers if the 2020 season winds up getting cancelled. We’ll have to wait and see on that, though.