To Ernie Clement, it feels like he’s in jail.
The feeling is not because he’s in any sort of prison or quarantine beyond what all of New York State is enduring these days.
It’s because of the way the pro baseball prospect must now stay in shape.
“I was running in my grandmother’s backyard, just doing sprints, a couple different agility exercises and then push-ups and sit-ups. Kinda that jail yard workout,” Clement said with a laugh.
That was last week while back home in Rochester. Clement on Sunday spoke from his parents’ place in Lake Placid where the outdoorsy exercise programs continued.
“I’ve done a lot of work outside for my dad–carrying wood around and stuff like that. And then continuing to run and do all that. It’s kinda funny because all the gyms are closed so you really gotta innovate and do the best with what you got.”
Clement is one of a few thousand pro baseball players trying to manage the hand they’ve been dealt once Covid-19 shut down all sports.
He’s still an Indians infield prospect with a bright future. He’s rated among the top 30 prospects in the Cleveland organization.
Clement progressed up the minor league ladder well in his first two-plus pro seasons. He spent most of 2019 in Double-A, but finished the year with a handful of games in uniform for Triple-A Columbus and helped the Clippers to a Governor’s Cup title.
When the NBA stopped their season on March 11th, Clement admitted he and the other minor leaguers with the Indians knew the corona virus pandemic effect would likely drift into their world eventually.
He had no idea it would happen so quick.
“(On March 12th), we ended up having a big meeting about it just to educate all the guys about corona virus,” Clement said. “And then, the next day, the sent everybody home. It all happened so fast.”
The Brighton grad is keeping a positive attitude about his situation. He’s healthy and so is his family.
Clement thinks the players that are willing to sacrifice the most now will be better off once baseball resumes.
“I don’t think there’s any excuse not to be ready to go,” Clement said. “I’m still throwing. I’m still taking swings. Obviously, I can’t go out and take live BP, but there’s ways I can stay ready. When that time comes, I’m going to be ready to go.”
He sees the time away as an opportunity to get better and stronger, but also make sure to start the season 100% healthy. Clement is happy about what he’s accomplished so far and hopes to start the season in Triple-A. If not…
“I’ll just be where my feet are and play my butt off wherever I end up,” he said.
Right now, his feet are in Lake Placid where is staying ready for the breakout season that could very well be close.