NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The workout program prescribed by the San Francisco Giants' training staff covered 10 weeks, but this is Week 11 of the lockout by the owners and those instructions are beyond their expiration date. Because club employees are forbidden from having any contact with players, Giants Curt Casali and Mike Yastrzemski are ad-libbing through a daily regimen at Vanderbilt University, among big 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 just start over," Casali jokes, between sets of weightlifting. Later, he will throw batting practice to Yastrzemski, who will, in turn, flip pitches to Casali, and to Phil Gosselin, a veteran free-agent infielder who can't sign with a team until the lockout ends.
"This is torture," says Yastrzemski, as he picks up baseballs in between rounds of BP. "Let's go play baseball. Enough is enough."
Last Monday, Feb. 21, would've been the day a lot of teams would've held their first full-squad workouts at their respective spring training sites. Platoons of pitchers chatting their way through fielding practice drills, as field coordinators check their watches to advance the groups. Position players taking ground balls and fly balls, and then stepping into sunlit batting cages to hone their swings in advance of Opening Day, underneath the promise of many tomorrows.
But on this day, nobody knows what tomorrow brings for professional baseball. Spring training is a concept, a hope, not a given. So Casali and Yastrzemski are among a dozen big leaguers squeezing in loosely structured morning workouts before the bulk of the Vanderbilt players finish classes and take over the place.