With professional sports across the country, and mostly across the entire world on hold right now as we all try to deal with the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, athletes are doing what they can in order to stay “ready”. 2019 3rd round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds Tyler Callihan is no different here.
The Jacksonville native was out in Goodyear for spring training earlier this month when everything was shut down and had to head back home. That may feel like a decade ago, but it was actually just over two weeks ago. A local news station in Florida caught up with him this week to talk about his transition to professional baseball and how things had been going while he was in Arizona for spring training.
The 19-year-old really seemed to like Billings, where he would spend the last two weeks of the 2019 campaign. “It was my favorite place I’ve ever been to on this world. I stepped off the plane and was like ‘Oh my goodness, this is amazing’, looking around there’s mountains over here, planes over here. This is incredible,” said Callihan. “The weather is nothing like Florida weather, you step off and there’s no humidity drowning you. You step out and you can just breath so easily and you look around and everything’s so scenic and beautiful. It was awesome.”
Instructional league used to happen following the season, but the Reds moved it to the start of the season this year. Several teams are now operating this way. The thought process is that players are worn down at the end of the year, so it’s better to have them fresh at the start of the year for instructional league.
“I was fortunate enough to go out early for instructional league, which the Reds do earlier. So I got out there for about three weeks. It was really fun. I saw a lot of the big league dudes, I would go out before I was supposed to and I’d watch them take BP and stuff like that. I’d see them when I was in the training room, or in the hot tub, or doing whatever and luckily I got a chance to talk to a few of those guys, pick their brains and stuff like that.”
In his professional debut, Tyler Callihan split his time between both second base and third base. He played in 22 games at second base and spent another 31 games over at third. All of his time at third base came with the Greeneville Reds. After joining the Billings Mustangs at the end of the season he played in two games at second, with the other games coming as the teams designated hitter.
“I was only out there for three weeks. All of the staff out there already helped me improve so much, especially at second base,” said Callihan about what he was doing in spring training. “They showed me a lot of drills that, I’ve been playing baseball for 16 years, and I’d never seen before. They helped me so much – my hands, my feet already got cleaned up so much, so I was really excited to keep going.”