MLB ordered all 30 spring training camps closed for a deep cleaning and disinfecting and that all personnel who wanted to continue unofficial workouts when the reopen sites would have to undergo a COVID-19 screening.
The league was reacting to both rising numbers of cases in Arizona and Florida – the states that house all 30 spring sites – but also that at least four teams reported either coronavirus cases or symptoms in their camps. Three – the Phillies, the Blue Jays and the Giants – closed their camp on their own before MLB’s decision. The Phillies, who trains in Clearwater, Fla., Acknowledged that eight employees have been coming down with coronavirus since Tuesday, including five players.
Players have been allowed to return to spring facilities or home stadiums in recent weeks to work out with the help of limited staff support. Each team created protocols. But without an agreement between the MLB and the players association on health and safety, there is no singular policy overseeing these informal workouts. So players were coming and going without a testing regimen.
MLB hopes it can reopen camp early next week after the cleansing. The sport’s rule is establishing that personnel must have a negative test for the virus to be allowed to resume their workouts. MLB would additionally like to continue testing every two days.
These are the first known cases to surface since teams began to let players back into facilities. Even before the outbreak, the Phillies had been planning to hold their spring training in Philadelphia. The Blue Jays, though, were likely going to be in Dunedin, Fla.