PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s a sign that spring is on the way, even during a pandemic. The Phillies equipment truck leaves Monday, bound for Florida.

It wasn’t until last week that Dan O’Rourke knew for sure that spring training would start on time. That’s when the Phillies equipment manager and the rest of us learned that Major League Baseball, unable to get the players union to agree to a COVID-19 delay, announced the season would begin as scheduled.

In any case, O’Rourke had 50 pallets on the clubhouse floor at Citizens Bank Park, ready to be packed onto the truck.

“Regardless of the rumors, we have to be ready and assume that the season was going to start on time,” he said.

In addition to the usual payload that includes 2,400 baseballs, 2,000 shirts, 1,200 bats and 600 pairs of pants, O’Rourke says masks, sanitizer, and other PPE are on board.

“A lot of that stuff was ordered and sent right to Clearwater,” he said. “So between what we’re bringing down and what was ordered, we will be prepared to play a full season of baseball.”

O’Rourke added that part of his job now was spraying disinfectant on the equipment containers. “Besides wearing the mask, it was still our job – but it was just slowed down by spraying and sanitizing the stuff off the truck,” he said.

According to the equipment manager, the truck will be unloaded at Clearwater’s Spectrum Field on Thursday. He said it’ll be good to have baseball back.

“I wish people were in the stands so people can get out and get away and just get back to normal as best we can,” said O’Rourke.

Pitchers and catchers have their first workout February 17. Several Grapefruit League teams, including the Twins, Pirates, Cardinals and Astros have said they’ll be allowing a limited number of fans. The Phils are expected to announce their spring plans for fans any day now.

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