Dodgers coach cooking, caring for Venezuelan minor leaguers

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - APRIL 07: General view of a practice field at the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox spring training facility, Camelback Ranch on April 07, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. According to reports, Major League Baseball is considering a scenario in which all 30 of its teams play an abbreviated regular season without fans in Arizona's various baseball facilities, including Chase Field and 10 spring training venues. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - APRIL 07: General view of a practice field at the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox spring training facility, Camelback Ranch on April 07, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. According to reports, Major League Baseball is considering a scenario in which all 30 of its teams play an abbreviated regular season without fans in Arizona's various baseball facilities, including Chase Field and 10 spring training venues. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Dodgers pitching coordinator, Luis Meza, is trying to make the best of a difficult situation for Venezuelan minor leaguers stuck in Arizona during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’ve been following your favorite Dodgers on social media, you’ve seen how they’ve tried to keep busy without baseball.

Justin Turner has been learning about the next Tiger King episode. Clayton Kershaw is spending time with his family. Gavin Lux is competing in an MLB The Show tournament. Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios are using pinto beans to keep their swings sharp. Everyone is staying safe while finding creative ways to remain busy.

And then there are some players who don’t have the luxury to return home or shelter in a familiar setting while waiting for baseball to return. Several Dodgers players from Venezuela are stuck in the U.S. without being allowed to return home due to travel restrictions placed between the two countries.

Dodgers pitching coordinator, Luis Meza, has been spending the past few weeks looking over a dozen Venezuelan minor leaguers who are isolated in a hotel near Camelback Ranch where the team holds Spring Training.

According to ESPN, Meza, a native Venezuelan, has been looking after the players who are unable to return home or consider it too dangerous. He has been trying to promote positivity among the group, and according to the report, has tried his hand at cooking arepas, a popular Venezuelan cuisine.

These players are forced to survive on their minor league salaries–Major League Baseball is providing minor leaguers $400 per week until the end of May–while being stuck in Arizona, far away from their families in their home country.

Meza is entering his fifth season with the Dodgers organization. He spent his first season with the DSL Dodgers before moving to a role with the Rookie-level AZL Dodgers. Meza knows how difficult it can be for minor league players, having spent time in the minors himself, between 2009-2015, as a starting pitcher and bullpen arm in the low ranks of the Dodgers system. The typical day-to-day grind is exacerbated by the current conditions.

Kershaw doesn't want to leave family to play in Arizona. dark. Next

The future of minor league baseball remains in question, independent of the hardships associated with the novel coronavirus. A report released on Monday indicates the possible end of Minor League Baseball as an independent entity. Major League Baseball is seeking to take control of the minors, eliminating 40 teams, and controlling how affiliates are assigned.

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