27-year old relief pitcher Josh Staumont figured to play an important role in the Kansas City Royals bullpen as the team entered Spring Training in mid-February. Staumont reported late to camp and explained his timetable to not only throw off a mound, but just do simple tasks such as walking up stairs was push backed, after he contracted COVID-19 just before pitchers and catchers were set to arrive in Surprise, AZ.
Staumont pitched an inning in Sunday’s game against the Dodgers for the first time this spring after battling a fever that reached as high as 103. He says he was sleeping as much as 20 hours a day while battling the virus.
Staumont, who was a 2nd round draft pick for the Royals in 2015, was the only pitcher in the Majors last season besides Jacob deGrom of the Mets to hit 102 on the radar gun. His speed was nowhere near where it was in 2020, but Staumont knows he has 2-3 more weeks of training camp to ramp-up after building up to game action with bullpen sessions and simulated games.
Staumont says he has an appreciation for other players who were hit with the virus last year and had to jump right back into the season. He expects as vaccines roll out that this season to see fewer and fewer positive tests.