After getting selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft, ‘Iolani’s Shane Sasaki was in Florida for his first spring training.
His first spring as pro ballplayer was cut short due to coronavirus concerns as a hectic week in the sports world put an indefinite suspension on the 2020 MLB season. It was definitely not how he imagined his first full professional season starting.
“It’s crazy, especially like it’s my first spring training,” Sasaki told KHON2’s Ren Clayton. “We just started live ABs (at-bats) and all of a sudden, it was all over Twitter and all over the news. Everybody was just like ‘What are we gonna do?’ It’s pretty crazy.”
The MLB suspended its season on March 12, and the Rays franchise told their players to go home shortly after. Sasaki has been home in the islands as he and other athletes across the world try to adjust to the uncertainty.
“It’s super weird,” he said. “I was just getting comfortable in the box, getting the feel for the game and I really don’t know what I’m gonna do or what they’re gonna do.”
The current stoppage of the season is not the first form of adversity Sasaki has faced as a pro. Before joining the Rays last summer, he suffered a collapsed lung on a hike. However, he hasn’t allowed the condition to change his outlook.
“I don’t really worry about that but it is always on the back of my mind,” he said. “Even when I’m flying, the altitude kind of expands the pneumothorax that I have still.”