Top News

MLB teams such as the Jays advised to shut down group workouts, more info coming Monday

The game between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays was cancelled on Sunday due to the coronavirus outbreak. Major League Baseball is also delaying the start of the regular season by at least two weeks. (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports)
The game between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays was cancelled on Sunday due to the coronavirus outbreak. Major League Baseball is also delaying the start of the regular season by at least two weeks. (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports)

Major League teams were advised Sunday to shutter group workouts at spring training and home facilities as coronavirus prevention measures continue.

Individual workouts are still allowed, at least for now, but odds are that will quickly change and many players have already — or were —heading elsewhere. That said, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer hosted a sandlot-style charity whiffle ball game on Saturday in Arizona (numerous precautions were taken including switching balls often and using disinfectant wipes) with the proceeds going to team staffers who have lost their jobs for now.

Those Toronto Blue Jays players remaining in Dunedin had been slated to have access for optional workouts on Sunday and there was an organizational meeting with them scheduled for Monday intended to provide more information before it was expected there would be a mass exodus of players to their home bases.

Earlier Sunday, ESPN first reported that a New York Yankees minor-league player tested positive for COVID-19. The unidentified player was only on the minor-league side with the Yankees, not with major leaguers in Tampa, the team said. The player was isolated on Friday after developing a fever, the Yankees told ESPN, who also reported that the team’s player development director told the other minor-league players about the positive test. The text reportedly said the player is recovering well and that they are in communication with health officials on further steps.

As a whole, all clubs were scheduled to have a conference call with the commissioner’s office on Monday at noon ET for further updates on the entire situation and how some things will play out once a full shutdown occurs (such as player pay, defining where they can go).


The memo sent by the league to its members Sunday sought to encourage social distancing (most notably by kiboshing group workouts) and for players to take this seriously (some, like many members of society, had unfortunately been downplaying it for days, regardless of the examples countries around the world had provided of the dangers of doing just that).

“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 of our players and staff members,” read the memo.

It also had guidelines on gatherings at Dominican Republic facilities (no group workouts there either) and encouraged “nonessential staff” to return to their club’s home city, particularly if they are older or have preexisting medical conditions and are in a “higher risk category.”

All of this is evolving quickly and more will be known after Monday’s conference call.

Last week MLB moved opening day back by at least two weeks and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted Sunday “The hoped-for April 9 MLB start date was always seen as a best-case scenario, and with developments over the past few days, based on talks with several execs today anytime before June would be viewed as welcome.”

That’s a sentiment that seems to be catching on, especially with what is expected to come population-wide, based on what happened elsewhere.


How might baseball make up for lost early-season games and potentially needing a second, abbreviated spring training? Expect to see a lot of double-headers. How do they solve service time factors if a significant chunk of the season is lost? Good question. What about the draft, will players get more eligibility, will some come back who might have left early? Will high schoolers think twice about trying to go straight to the draft? (Toronto holds the fifth pick of June’s draft). Maybe some of that will come up on Monday in the conference call? But they likely have bigger things to worry about at this time though … If you missed it Saturday, Washington released Hunter Strickland, a reliever and trade deadline pickup who did not play at all in the playoffs during the Nationals’ run to the World Series … The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., shut its doors indefinitely as of 5 p.m. ET, on Sunday. “This precautionary measure is being implemented in accordance with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and government officials to limit opportunities for large gatherings and the further spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the Hall said in a statement. Induction day for a class which includes Yankees legend Derek Jeter and Canadian Larry Walker, amongst others, is scheduled for July 26. The Hall of Fame will provide weekly updates on its website and social media outlets every Sunday.


Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories