He was able to stay busy during 2020, unlike the majority of his Heat teammates, by playing with the Eagles in Korea.
Saupold will be back home for a few months before deciding on his next professional foray, to begin in February.
While a lot of his teammates are looking to shake the rust off, Saupold is coming off pitching 165 innings across 28 matches this past season.
And after living in a COVID-restricted lifestyle with most of his time revolving around going from his apartment to and from a baseball pitch, Saupold is making the most of the freedom at home to reconnect with friends and family.
“The massive thing for me is getting back in a normal environment. In my time in Korea we were very COVID-strict and it was a tough time,” Saupold said.
“It was pretty much just go to the field and back to the apartment, and we were very restricted on what we could and couldn’t do. To now be able to go out to a restaurant back here in Perth is huge and I love my golf so to get out and play, and unwind and do regular things is massive.
“I can take the dog down to the park for a walk and it’s a huge boost now that I’m out of quarantine after eight months in Korea of not being able to do anything. We are a very lucky country and all credit’s due to those running the ship to allow us to live a relatively normal life.
“Unfortunately my fiancé couldn’t join me in Korea so that was very tough dealing with being apart for so long and I struggled at times. You can only have so many Facetime calls. Then I got home and had two more weeks of quarantine so it was tough.”
Reflecting on the past 12 months, Saupold was glad to play baseball when a lot of people couldn’t; but it was far from the most enjoyable season he’s had.
Saupold is going to be part of a Heat bullpen that includes his former Detroit Tigers teammate Zac Reininger, but he has mixed feelings about how 2020 went, and is now focusing on the next month of baseball with the Heat.
“At the middle of the season in Korea I did have some issues and had some shoulder problems that I kept to myself and battled through. I had some average results around that time but in the back end I felt a bit better but was so fatigued from trying to be that hero.
“I have come back wanting to tweak my mechanics a little bit. So I’ll sit down with [pitching coach RC Lichtenstein] to see what he sees and try to get back to my best and get the velocity up a little bit.
“If it leads to another contract then great, if it doesn’t I look forward to playing for the Heat until I can’t throw no more.”
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