Major League Baseball has been in a state of flux since their initial response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was to limit clubhouse access to only players and essential personnel.
Days later, MLB announced the cancellation of all Spring Training games and delayed the start of the season for at least two weeks. That came of the heels of the NBA suspending its season indefinitely after learning Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.
MLB took further action this weekend by suspending Spring Training operations and giving players the option to return home, remain in the city of their team’s facility, or head to their club’s home city.
MLB and the MLB Players Association remained in constant communication, and now teams received a memo that explained group workouts and other activities that will draw a cluster of players are no longer permitted as a means of abiding by social distancing, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
“The strong recommendation from our infectious disease and public health experts is that Clubs shoudl avoid all activities in which players congregate in significant numbers or ware otherwise unable to practice the “social distancing” protocols recommended by the CDC. The risk of a player in a Club facility contracting the virus is real, and we must implement protocols to protect the safety and well-being our our players and staff members. In adidition, we must recognize that there is the potential for further federal and state restrictions that will impact our operations, including restrictions on travel.”
MLB additionally outlined Minor Leaguers (and players not on the 40-man roster) are advised to return to their offseason home. Shortly after it was learned a memo had been sent to teams, came reports of a New York Yankees Minor League player testing positive for coronavirus.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were among the teams that previously anticipated a bulk of their players remaining in Spring Training camp for voluntary workouts. That may very well change in light of the latest developments, which Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted could be a possibility.
“This is new territory,” he said the day MLB cancelled Spring Training games. “I remember the ’95 season, Spring Training shortened. And then there’s obviously been some viruses that have been out over the last decade-plus, but something like this, I don’t think I’ve been a part of anything like this.”
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