SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The novel coronavirus has reached the baseball world as a New York Yankees minor league player was reportedly the first in affiliated ball to test positive on Sunday.
According to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the unidentified player only participated in workouts on the minor league side of the Yankees’ spring training facility, located in Tampa, Florida.
Unlike the NBA, Major League Baseball did not wait for its first positive test to occur to suspend operations, but the news will likely have a trickle-down effect that impacts camps in both Florida and Arizona.
The San Francisco Giants are among the teams whose plans could change rapidly over the next 24 hours as players and coaches were originally scheduled to meet on Monday morning at the team facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The meeting was expected to determine how and where players will spend their time while the league has suspended operations, but it’s no longer clear if the Giants will be permitted to hold such a large meeting. Club presidents of all 30 teams received a memo Sunday encouraging teams to avoid all activities in which players congregate in significant numbers.
The memo said “the risk of a player in a Club facility contracting the virus is real,” and noted that federal and state restrictions could impact operations, including guidelines on travel.
All players on 40-man rosters are still allowed use of major league spring training facilities, but all minor league players were told by teams to return to their offseason residences “to the extent practical.” It is unclear whether veteran players who signed minor league free-agent contracts with invitations to spring training such as Billy Hamilton, Trevor Cahill and Tyson Ross will be allowed to continue using the Giants facility, but in all likelihood, more stringent restrictions are on the way.
The Giants shut down their Scottsdale Stadium facility from Friday-Sunday for a deep cleaning and to create “social distancing,” for players as the coronavirus spreads throughout the United States. No Giants officials have been made available for comment over the weekend, but that is expected to change on Monday when the organization receives more clarity from the league regarding how to proceed.
The Commissioner has scheduled a conference call at 9 a.m. PT on Monday to provide the latest update from the league for club officials.
There are several issues MLB and the MLB Players Association must resolve in the coming days and weeks, but doing so is difficult when it’s unclear how soon teams will be able to hold organized workouts.
On Thursday, MLB announced the remainder of spring training exhibitions would be cancelled while the start of the regular season would be delayed “at least two weeks.” According to multiple league sources, it is unlikely the regular season starts before the month of May and it is increasingly likely teams will play fewer than 162 games for the first time since 1995, which was shortened due to a work stoppage.
The same sources indicated that when teams eventually receive clarification on when the season may start, club will hold a “second spring training,” that will be shorter in length and may include exhibition games that are closed to the pubic.
In the interim, club physicians and athletic trainers are required to communicate with players and staff members “every few days,” to check in on their health status. Any player or staff member showing symptoms of the coronavirus or the flu is required to notify the club immediately.
Published at Sun, 15 Mar 2020 16:41:54 +0000