Players coping with long break

For five months and 162 games, baseball players rarely get more than a day off, enduring the grind of the long season from the chilly spring months to the dog days of August.

In October, however, everything changes.

With prime-time viewing slots and television ratings dictating the schedule, baseball’s frantic regular-season pace grinds to a crawl of sporadic appearances in the playoffs, as evidenced by the Giants’ current five-day break between games.

Players normally used to measuring their down time in hours are now getting used to spending days without a game.

“Obviously we want to play ball, but that’s the way its set up nowadays,” the Giants’ Aubrey Huff said. “It’s just something you have to deal with.”

Huff said the long break between games will not change how the team prepares for Saturday’s Game 1 meeting against the Phillies in Philadelphia.

“You can’t change your program or your routine,” Huff said. “The key is to act like it’s just another regular-season game coming up.”

Giants’ Game 3 starter Matt Cain, who will go 10 days between appearances, said he will restart his usual preparation activities after five days — his normal break between outings.

“It’s definitely different, but you almost have to act like you’re starting in five days,” Cain said. “You’ve obviously got your break, but once that five-day mark hits, you just try to start all over again.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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