In this June 14 photo, Nick Thwaits delivers a pitch for the Tri-City Dust Devils during a game against the Everett Emeralds at Gesa Stadium, in Pasco, Wash. Thwaits, a 2018 Fort Recovery High School graduate and 15th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres, finds himself with time off this spring as sports across the globe have been postponed because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. (Tri-City Dust Devils/Judy Simpson)
In this June 14 photo, Nick Thwaits delivers a pitch for the Tri-City Dust Devils during a game against the Everett Emeralds at Gesa Stadium, in Pasco, Wash. Thwaits, a 2018 Fort Recovery High School graduate and 15th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres, finds himself with time off this spring as sports across the globe have been postponed because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. (Tri-City Dust Devils/Judy Simpson)
A couple days ago, Nick Thwaits returned to Mercer County.

Blake Hunt finds himself in back in Orange County, California.

Both should be at Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona, preparing for the 2020 season.

Instead, the players in the San Diego Padres organization are like many other professional athletes across the country looking to stay busy as leagues sit in limbo as to when games will resume since the sports world has been halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We could be called back at any time,” said Thwaits, a 2018 Fort Recovery High School graduate who was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 15th round that same year. “Doesn’t look like it’s going to happen soon. I’m not trying to take a step back. I’m trying to improve.”

In his first full season of professional baseball, Thwaits was assigned to the Tri-City Dust Devils, the Padres’ short-season Class A affiliate in Pasco, Washington.

He made 13 starts for the Dust Devils, including getting the nod on Opening Day. He also pitched in the decisive fifth game of the Northwoods League Championship Series, which the Dust Devils eventually lost.

Thwaits had a 4-3 record with a 4.66 ERA in 58 innings. He struck out 47 batters and walked 18 for a 1.52 WHIP. He also had 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Coming off that season, Thwaits said he was confident in the way he performed and the work he was putting in to correct his fastball — the two-time Midwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year spent most of his time in Pasco working to differentiate his 2-seam fastball and cutter.

Heading into his second spring with the Padres, he was hoping to earn a spot close to home with the TinCaps instead of being held back for extended spring training or another stint with the Dust Devils.

“I’m ready to go full season,” the 20-year-old said.

In the meantime, though, he’s trying to make the adjustment of being back home instead of out in the desert heat working on his craft with the rest of his teammates.

A silver lining: Joanie and Terry Thwaits get to see their son more.

“My mom seems really happy I’m back,” Nick said. “Last week I was in Spring Training and now I’m at home. I know my mom enjoys it a lot.”

On March 12, leagues and organizations in the United States starting postponing, pausing or canceling events. The NCAA canceled its winter and spring championships. Major League Baseball halted its Spring Training and delayed the start to the season, then Minor League Baseball followed suit the same day.

And as COVID-19 continues to spread, the uncertainty of when, or if, the leagues will play games this year leaves athletes scrambling for how to fill the time.

Hunt, a 21-year-old from Costa Mesa, California, who spent the entire 2019 season in Fort Wayne, is also adjusting to having a spring without baseball for the first time in as long as he can remember.

“This definitely is not necessarily how I want to be spending it, of course,” said Hunt, a second-round pick in the 2017 and the Padres’ No. 21 prospect according to MLB.com. “I have a passion for the game of baseball and I want to be playing games as soon as possible.”

Like Thwaits and many other athletes, Hunt has had to find ways to stay active. Thwaits was supposed to throw a simulated game in Cincinnati on Tuesday but it was nixed because he and others couldn’t gain access to a field.

“I don’t know what to do right now,” Thwaits lamented. “Trying to enjoy (the time) while still getting in the work, it’s a weird feeling of not getting to go to the field.”

Hunt had been working out at a gym so his 6-foot, 3-inch, 215-pound catching frame could remain in shape, but Orange County, California, has closed all non-essential spaces.

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended restricting events of more than 50 attendees for eight weeks, MLB released a statement the following delay furthering the delay of the start of baseball season.

With an unplanned break from the sport, Thwaits, Hunt and others are doing the best they can to make the best of their situation.

“I’m just enjoying what time I have with family and friends as much as I can for what might hopefully be the only spring I have at home for the next 15 to 20 years,” Hunt said. “The weirdest part of all this is having gone to a restaurant or just at home, turning on the TV and not being able to find any games on.”