Major League Baseball and the Players Association remain apart on economic matters for a 2020 regular season, but Friday offered a grim reminder an agreement — mutual or imposed by commissioner Rob Manfred — could easily be undone by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Philadelphia Phillies confirmed five players and three staff members who were on hand at the club’s Spring Training facility tested positive for the virus, and the Houston Astros announced one player who had worked out at their West Palm Beach, Florida, facility also returned a positive test.
There additionally are unconfirmed reports of players within the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays organizations having tested positive as well.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, the developments prompted MLB to instruct all teams to close their respective Spring Training facilities in Arizona and Florida for cleansing and new guidelines will be implemented:
Major League Baseball, which has had at least 12 major-league players and staff members test positive for COVID-19, has decided to immediately shut down all of their spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida, a high-ranking official with direct knowledge of the decision told USA TODAY Sports.
MLB has ordered all of the facilities to undergo a deep clean, and will require all players and staff members to undergo testing before being able to use the facilities again when they open.
Multiple reports indicated the San Francisco Giants closed their facility after one person who visited and a family member displayed mild coronavirus symptoms. The team did not specify if the person was a player in the organization.
The Dodgers officially re-opened Camelback Ranch and Dodger Stadium at the end of May for players who needed to rehab an injury and receive treatment. Chris Taylor said he was part of a group that included Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, among others, working out at Dodger Stadium during designated times to maintain safety.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Cody Bellinger, Kiké Hernandez and Julio Urias among those utilizing Camelback Ranch.
As MLB continues to juggle multiple issues, it is now said to be considering beginning the season in a ‘bubble,’ much like the NBA. Southern California reportedly is a location that could host the season.
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