MESA, Ariz. – The A’s spring training facilities at Hohokam Stadium, quiet Saturday morning, could remain that way for a while.
On Sunday, in a memo reported by The Athletic, Major League Baseball issued guidelines prohibiting organized group workouts at team facilities and encouraging its teams to “avoid all activities in which players congregate in significant numbers.”
Teams will be updated further on a Monday conference call with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, according to the memo.
On Saturday, multiple A’s players told The Chronicle that players were still figuring out plans as baseball responds to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pitcher Chris Bassitt said in a text message that many players would take the weekend to decide whether to stay at the A’s spring facility in Mesa. “Everything is foreign for what we are going through,” he said. “A lot of moving pieces currently.”
Pitcher Daniel Mengden said in a text players were “basically in a holding pattern” and “all sitting back and waiting for more clarity.”
MLB’s memo includes some. Non-roster players are instructed to return home “to the extent practical.” Teams are asked to help find accommodations for non-roster players to whom leaving is “not feasible.” Non-roster players requiring medical treatment can stay at spring sites.
The A’s had 10 non-roster players still in major-league camp when play was suspended Thursday, including veteran infielders Eric Campbell and Ryan Goins and relievers Lucas Luetge and Brian Schlitter.
Players on 40-man rosters are allowed to stay near their spring sites. Spring facilities will remain open to major-league players for now but should be operated by “limited staff.”
Per the memo: “Until we develop appropriate protocols to minimize the risks to players (which we are actively working on), Clubs are not permitted to hold or organize any group workouts, practices, skill or conditioning sessions, or other player activities at their facilities.”
Non-essential staff are encouraged to leave spring sites and team medical personnel are asked to check in regularly with players and staff. Teams are also asked to practice “social distancing” as recommended by the CDC.
According to multiple reports Sunday, a New York Yankees minor-league player tested positive for coronavirus, marking the first reported case of the disease in U.S. professional baseball.
MLB canceled remaining spring games and delayed the start of its regular season last Thursday and suspended spring training operations Friday. MLB said in its memo Sunday it’s “working to respond to an ever-changing landscape” and will provide teams on Monday “with what we believe is the best approach in the near term to protect your employees.”
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