Collin McHugh on OMF: MLB players have 'sincere concerns' about testing delays


Major League Baseball announced the complete 60-game regular-season schedules for each team Monday night, but there remain real questions about whether starting on July 23 -- or at all -- is actually going to happen.

The first week of summer camp has highlighted the touch-and-go nature of this restart. Seemingly every day brings news of more positive tests, including the revelation Tuesday that Red Sox Eduardo Rodriguez and Bobby Dalbec are among that group.

Another problem, though, has been the testing itself. Several teams, including that Nationals, Astros and Giants, have had to hit pause on their workouts because of delays in getting test results back. Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland also had a delayed start to camp due to a pending test.

Appearing on Ordway, Merloni and Fauria, Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh acknowledged that many players have "sincere concerns" about the testing issues and said it's something that needs to get ironed out quickly.

"It's strange, because there's not really a distinct order of jurisdiction here," McHugh said. "Some of the things are run by the league. Some of the things are kind of put onto the team, to make sure they're staying up to date on the protocols that are coming in and that they're following the ones that have already been agreed upon. The Sox have done a really great job so far in my opinion of holding up their end of the bargain.

"I think myself and a lot of players are concerned over MLB's side of the bargain. We're getting tested every other day, but making sure they're getting returned to us in a timely manner so we feel comfortable coming to work every day and not having a guy who may be asymptomatic walking around for three to four days without knowing it. That's something that can take down this whole thing really quickly. I was talking to (Nationals pitcher) Sean Doolittle and some of the other guys around the league. We have sincere concerns about it. We understand that it's the first week. Maybe there's some tweaks that need to happen, but in our opinion they need to happen quickly and we need to get back on top of it as fast as possible."

McHugh said he is technically a player with elevated risk because he has chronic asthma, and noted that playing this season was a decision he had to take seriously. It also means he currently has his own suite as his locker room at Fenway.

"Because I'm technically a high-risk player, I have to have my own suite. I guess that's the best of a worst situation there," he said. "...I've got chronic asthma, and have for many years. It's something that given everything that's been going on this year with the pandemic, I made the choice to come up here and to play in the midst of that. But this is a choice that a lot of guys similar to myself have to take really seriously. I've got a wife, I've got two small children that I left back home in Atlanta. The risk seems too great to have them up here with me. None of us take this lightly. It's a really important decision for us."

McHugh has documented what workouts in the age of coronavirus have been like on his social media platforms, including a demonstration of what it's like to get tested.

Interesting peek behind the curtains from McHugh. ig:cmchugh

— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) July 3, 2020

This is our covid test. Spitting into a vial like 15 times. No eating/drinking 30 min beforehand. Tested every other day.

— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) July 4, 2020

McHugh acknowledged that things haven't felt normal, and that Fenway's magic has been tough to come by given all the changes.

"I've been trying to catalog a lot of this stuff kind of on my Instagram or whatever, trying to give people kind of some transparency into what this is actually like for us on a daily basis," he said. "For me, signing with the Red Sox and the idea of kind of getting back to Fenway and exploring Fenway and being part of the clubhouse atmosphere, a little bit of that has kind of taken the shine off it when we have to be really spread out.

"I will say the Sox have done an amazing job of making sure we're social distanced, making sure we've got all the equipment we need, and making sure we're staying as safe as possible. But the lure of Fenway, as Fenway has been for the last 100-plus years, just isn't quite there right now. I think we're going to just have to get used to it."

McHugh is still recovering from an elbow injury, and he told OMF that while his rehab is going well, it's still too early to tell if he'll be ready for Opening Day on July 24.

Former #Astros and current @RedSox pitcher @Collin_McHugh joined @LouMerloni, @christianfauria & @FitzyGFY and detailed his unique contract status with the team. Hear the full interview with Collin ➡️ Watch OMF everyday 2-6pm ➡️

— OMF (@OMFonWEEI) July 7, 2020