By Weston DeWitt
GLENDALE, AZ — In spring training clubhouses, the mood is usually upbeat, even for teams that hit roadblocks in previous seasons.
For the defending National League champions, the high mood has hit a snag over the last 48 hours, as illness, consisting mostly of the flu, has permeated the clubhouse of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Manager Dave Roberts said on Wednesday that at least 24 players have been battling flu-like symptoms that were expected to “subside in one to three days.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Roberts said Wednesday.
Among the players who have been sent home is Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was scheduled to start on Wednesday vs. San Diego. He was also a no-show to workouts on Thursday morning.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a huge setback (for him), but it’s a minor setback,” said Roberts on Thursday. “You’re looking at a starting pitcher getting built up and it’s so specific to starting pitcher. But I’m sure they still have time to recoup that time.”
Others include Austin Barnes, Enrique Hernandez, Trayce Thompson, Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig.
The latest victim of the bug on Thursday morning was pitcher Ross Stripling, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
“It’s something that isn’t talked or worried about (moving forward), because there’s not much you can do,” Dodgers pitcher Tom Koehler said. “You take the necessary steps and precautions. Other than that, the guys who are here are working to get ready for the season and the guys who aren’t are home trying to get healthy as fast as possible.”
The clubhouse on Thursday morning was quiet for media availability, followed by a team meeting before prepping for their game against Cleveland.
Roberts said in his Thursday press conference that a “handful of guys (are) back” and that they would “participate in drills today.” He added that those handful of players would not be back into game action until Friday.
Among those players who Roberts was referring to was Hernandez, Bellinger, Barnes, Josh Fields, Donovan Solano. Chase Utley and Corey Seager .
Puig made his return to camp Thursday morning, as he took batting practice and returned to the lineup in the clean-up spot.
When asked if he has any idea what the virus might be, Roberts said, “No, but it’s kind of the same symptoms, chills and guys getting fatigued.”
“It just stinks, really,” Koehler said. “You hear about it happening in other camps and it’s unfortunate when you got 70 guys in the same room every day, guys are going to get sick. You just try to do the best you can to stay healthy. The main focus (right now) is to get back to 100 percent or close to it as you can.”