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Pro baseball players wait, train near home for season

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 6:57 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Baseball players at the pro level are still waiting for when they can go back.

Some local pro players are spending time back home getting ready for the season.

I am hopeful I really think we are going to play," said Mitch Keller, a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher from Cedar Rapids. “The owners want to play and the players want to play too. I know everybody else in America wants to watch some baseball and get their mind off of what is going on.”

With the major league baseball season still on hold local Eastern Iowa, pro baseball players have been keeping their skills sharp at Dugout Sports in Fairfax.

“We just have to stay sharp and stay like we would play next week," Keller said. "We have to be ready because we don’t know exactly when that’s going to be. Trying to stay in shape and keep the arm ready to go. I’ve been throwing a bullpen and then kind of like a simulated game. Once a week I’ll do a bullpen, once a week I’ll do a simulated game, so two times off the mound.”

Former Xavier High star pitcher Mitch Keller, a second round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, got a good taste of big league ball last year pitching in 11 games for the Pirates.

“Last year was a great learning experience for me,” Keller said. “With the new coaching staff we have, I’ve been learning a lot from them. I’m just ready to get the ball rolling here. I think the sky is the limit for me.”

The pro players have also been working with local high school players. Former Mount Vernon and Iowa pitcher CJ Eldred, who is in the Royals organization, has a lot of experience to pass along.

“I love giving lessons,” Eldred said. “It is baseball obviously, so I enjoy it. You were teaching kids that go to the local high schools around the area so you have some things you can relate to. It is nice to be able to do that.”

Working with the youngsters also takes their mind off a tough situation.

“It’s tough your baseball player and you want to go play. Right now it’s a pretty interesting time and you just have to make the best of it.”

Hopefully these guys will get chance to head back to work soon.

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