A day off in Florida would normally find the Red Sox players and coaches scattered around the state, some to visit family and friends, and others to play golf or charter a fishing boat.
But in the age of coronavirus, their time off on Monday wasn’t much to talk about.
“It was way different. I just stayed in my room talking to my wife, my babies,” second baseman Jose Peraza said Tuesday before a 5-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays. “We can’t do anything.”
The Sox did not require the players to stay at the team hotel in St. Petersburg. But with Florida overrun by the virus, the players were counseled to be particularly careful.
“Some guys came in and asked me about some different activities they were thinking of doing, and they canceled those,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “We recommended the guys didn’t do anything. But we didn’t want to come out and say, ’You’ve got to stay in your hotel room.’ ”
Roenicke smiled when asked if it’s still possible to enjoy a day off this season given the trepidation around the game.
“I walked [Monday] night,” he said. “I didn’t do much. I read some. I guess I can say I enjoyed it some. I got to read a little bit and walked.”
The Red Sox were without third base coach Carlos Febles, who returned to Boston because of an inconclusive result on a test in New York over the weekend. The Sox believe he will ultimately test negative, but didn’t want him around the team.
Ramon Vazquez coached third base.
Jay Groome eases into action at Pawtucket
Jay Groome, a 2016 first-round pick, threw 23 pitches of live batting practice at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, his first time facing hitters this season. The 21-year-old lefthander was added to the player pool for developmental purposes and is unlikely to pitch in the majors in 2020.
Groome has thrown only 66 professional innings because of injuries. He’s 3-9 with a 5.18 ERA in 20 starts.
Groom had five swinging strikes and allowed only one ball to be put in play. His changeup was sharp and his fastball, when it was over the plate, produced some bad swings.
“He’s missed a lot of time, obviously. He doesn’t really have a routine; that is probably what you need to pitch at the upper level,” said Pawtucket pitching coach Paul Abbott, who is handling the pitchers on the reserve squad.
“His bullpens have been very conservative; they’re very deliberate. We want him to be a bit more aggressive in his bullpens.”
Abbott said the coming weeks will be important for Groome to get work in against hitters, and for the Sox to come up with a plan for how to best develop him.
Martin Perez hoping to build off positives
Martin Perez allowed four runs in five innings in his debut Red Sox start against Baltimore, but he was better in his second game, giving up two runs over 5⅔ innings against the Mets.
The lefthander, who starts Wednesday night, improved his command and threw his off-speed pitches for strikes.
“Especially with my changeup,” Perez said. “Down the middle, down and away. Better location.”
Perez said the rhythm of his delivery has improved now that he’s on a regular schedule.
Perez faced the Rays twice last season. He allowed six runs over 2⅔ innings on May 30, but only two runs over seven innings on June 27.
Josh Taylor, a valuable bullpen lefty last season, pitched an inning in a simulated game in Pawtucket. He’ll get two days off, then pitch every other day. The hope is he will be ready to rejoin the major league team after four appearances. Taylor’s progression was slowed by a positive test. The same was true for lefthander Darwinzon Hernandez. But the Sox want to build Hernandez up for multiple innings, with an eye on perhaps having him start given the gaping holes in the rotation . . . Infielder Bobby Dalbec and righthander Mike Shawaryn joined catcher Jett Bandy on the taxi squad for the series. Teams are allowed to bring three players on the road to expedite roster moves. At least one must be a catcher . . . The Rays placed outfielder Manuel Margot on the bereavement list following the death of his father. Margot was one of the prospects the Red Sox traded to the Padres before the 2016 season to obtain Craig Kimbrel . . . MLB made a scoring change in the Mets-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on July 28. Kevin Plawecki’s single in the ninth inning was changed to an error on third baseman Jeff McNeil, who fumbled a ground ball, then threw wildly to first base.