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Yankees use creative ways to stay in shape with facilities shut down

Eric Cressey works out with Mets pitcher Noah

Eric Cressey works out with Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard on March 5, 2019, in Jupiter, Fla. Credit: AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack

A buzz word throughout the sport of baseball while it’s been shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the need for everyone to be “creative.”

Some of that creativity has emerged behind-the-scenes in talks among Major League Baseball officials – as well as the Players Association – on how some semblance of a season can be cobbled together when and if the sport gets the go-ahead to resume activities at some point in 2020.  

Doubleheaders that include seven-inning games, extra-inning games with a man placed on second and potentially regular season games, as well as the World Series, being played at a neutral site are among the many scenarios that have been discussed, not to mention the possibility of the overall season extending into mid-November or beyond.

But the word also fits the day-to-day activities of many players, most of whom are having to be creative in their workout routines. Those routines have been severely hampered with big-league and minor-league facilities shuttered for all players with limited exceptions – such as those rehabbing injuries – and with most gyms across the nation being shut down. And also local parks, recreation centers, etc. shut down, too.

So with that perhaps in mind, Eric Cressey, the Yankees' Director of Player Health and Performance, shared via Twitter (@EricCressey) early Monday afternoon some of the advice he’s given members of the Yankees and other professional athletes of late.

“Random Things I’ve Encouraged Professional Athletes to Lift in the Past Three Weeks,” Cressey wrote.

On the list, as written by Cressey:

  • Themselves (body weight training)
  • Duffel bags
  • Cases of Bottled Water
  • Soup cans
  • Coolers
  • Buckets
  • Bags of Sand/Mulch/Rocks
  • Towels (Manual Resistance)
  • Walls/Doorway (Isometric Holds)
  • Significant Others
  • Squirming Children

Cressey maybe meant the last two tongue-in-cheek. Then again, maybe not.

Summarizing the situation perhaps as well as anyone, he channeled an old axiom in adding to the above post: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

The 38-year-old Cressey was hired in the offseason by the Yankees in his current position, which had not existed before in the organization. Creating the position was another step in the organization’s quest to become a leader in the sport’s ever-increasing incorporation of data and science into all elements of performance.

It was also part of a comprehension overhaul of the Yankees medical and training staffs implemented in the offseason – spearheaded by managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman – after the club put a record 30 players on the injured list in 2019.

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