Having signed a six-year, $24 million contract with Seattle in November before even appearing in a major league game, Evan White was looking forward to making his debut with the Mariners this spring.
A 2014 Gahanna graduate, White was expected to be the starting first baseman in the season opener March 26 at home against the Texas Rangers. His debut was put on hold when MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced March 12 that the start of the regular season would be postponed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"You obviously want to go out there and you want to play," White said. "You try to focus on the big picture. People are suffering from this virus. We realize it's much bigger than baseball. As a baseball player, you want to be out there, but you have to realize where everyone is at."
White, who turned 24 on April 26, was off to a solid start in spring training, batting .333 with three doubles and three RBI in nine games.
"Everything felt pretty good and I felt confident," he said. "I felt like I was ready to go for the season. (The shutdown) felt weird. To go from 'we're breaking (for the regular season) in two weeks' to 'we don't know when we'll play again' is definitely a weird feeling, but you have to roll with it."
Since Seattle shut down its spring training facility in Peoria, Arizona, on March 19, White has continued to train at his home in Arizona, where he lives with his wife, Kari. He has been focusing on conditioning and basic baseball drills.
"It's definitely a little different, but you try to stay as ready as possible for when we do go back," he said.
White has remained in contact with former Gahanna assistant coach Brian Hull, who is in his fourth year as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Ohio Dominican.
"We text every day," Hull said. "We talk maybe twice a week to see how he's doing. This is the first offseason that he hasn't trained with me. I tell him to stay busy. A lot of it, at this point, is just doing the little things to keep his hands involved and staying prepared and continue to develop from the mental side of things."
As a senior at Gahanna, White batted .485 with four home runs, 43 RBI and 35 runs scored. He was named state Player of the Year and district co-Player of the Year in Division I as well as second-team All-America by the National High School Baseball Coaches Association.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound White went on to play for Kentucky, where he batted .356 with 17 home runs, 109 RBI and 119 runs over three seasons, before being picked by the Mariners with the 17th selection in the 2017 MLB draft.
White spent last season with the Mariners' Double-A affiliate in Arkansas.
Former Grove City standout Mike Mayers was in Tempe, Arizona, preparing for his first season with the Los Angeles Angels when spring training came to a halt.
The 6-3, 200-pound right-handed pitcher had spent his entire career with St. Louis after being selected by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2013 draft. He made his major league debut in 2016.
Mayers, who is 3-3 with one save and a 7.03 ERA in 73 career appearances, returned to his parents' home in Grove City during the shutdown.
"I really don't leave the house," said Mayers, a 2010 Grove City graduate. "I'm doing the isolation. My parents (Mark and Jayne) aren't super old, but they're in their upper 50s. I've been reading if I end up with the virus that I could give it to them, so I'm just keeping that in mind. ... It's been good to bond with my parents a little bit."
Mayers, who played at Mississippi, appeared in a career-high 50 games in 2018 and 16 games last season. He is expected to be a key reliever for the Angels this season after being claimed off waivers in November.
"Part of the reason I came home is (the Angels) shut down the facilities for a minimum of six weeks," Mayers said. "When they told us that, it was, 'Where am I going to go to train?' My parents have a gym in the basement. I've supplemented the gym with some other things that I felt were beneficial."
Former Dublin Scioto and Ohio State left-handed pitcher Andrew Magno was in Lakeland, Florida, preparing to begin his second season in the Detroit Tigers' organization when spring training was stopped.
A 2016 Scioto graduate, Magno was drafted by the Tigers in the 15th round last year and joined the team's Class A affiliate in Norwich, Connecticut. Competing in the New York-Penn League, he appeared in 19 games, recording three saves and a 2.05 ERA.
Magno said his destination for the 2020 season had yet to be determined when spring training was halted.
"I'm OK with it," he said. "It stinks because it's my first full year with pro ball. I was looking forward to trying to get that going, but overall I'd rather be safe with that than try to do something and put myself at risk."
The 5-11, 190-pound Magno has returned to his father's home in Dublin to continue training in hopes that the season eventually will begin. He has worked out at Scioto with an emphasis on running and throwing.
Another former Scioto player, Eric Stamets, also has returned to Columbus to continue training in preparation for the season.
The 6-0, 190-pound shortstop is in his first season with the Colorado Rockies' organization. He appeared in 14 games during spring training before play was stopped.
Stamets, a 2009 Scioto graduate, spent five seasons in the Cleveland Indians' organization after being traded from the Angels in 2015. He made his major league debut last year and appeared in 15 games. He began last season as the Indians' starting shortstop in place of Francisco Lindor, who was injured.
Stamets was selected by the Angels in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.