Virus prompts 4 MLB teams to close spring camps

Virus prompts 4 MLB teams to close spring camps

1:01 PM ET

  • ESPN News Services

All Major League Baseball training camps will temporarily close, a source confirmed, after multiple teams reported positive coronavirus tests on Friday.

The Spring Training facilities in Florida and Arizona will undergo a deep cleaning, and players will need to test negative before they can enter, according to multiple reports. The news was first reported by USA Today Sports.

Earlier Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers all announced that they would be shutting their camps.

The Phillies closed their spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida, after five players and three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The Blue Jays shuttered their site in Dunedin, Florida, about five miles from the Phillies’ camp, after a player showed symptoms consistent with the virus.

In Arizona, the Giants’ facility in Scottsdale was shut after one person who had been to the site and one family member exhibited symptoms Thursday. The Texas Rangers also shut their camp in Surprise, saying that no players or staff had tested positive, but they want to expand COVID-19 testing protocols.

Houston Astros general manager James Click said Friday that a player who has been working out at the team’s complex in West Palm Beach, Florida, tested positive for the virus several days ago. According to the team, the player experienced minor symptoms. The Astros’ release said they “informed MLB and implemented all health and safety protocols” but did not say the team shut the facility.

The Phillies said in a statement Friday that their facility will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control. The team’s first confirmed case occurred Tuesday. Eight staff members tested negative, and 20 players and 12 other staff members are awaiting test results.

The Blue Jays’ player exhibiting symptoms is a pitcher on the 40-man roster who recently spent time with players in the Phillies’ minor league system, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan. He has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results.

Multiple players working out at the Blue Jays’ facility said they had not been tested. If the player with symptoms is not an isolated case, testing will ramp up.

“We are being overly precautious with testing,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told ESPN.

The Phillies declined to comment on the implication of the positive tests on the upcoming season, saying it is too early to know.

The facility shutdowns come while Major League Baseball owners and players try to negotiate a deal, including health protocols, to begin the season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some players had recently been working out at spring training sites while practicing social distancing.

The sides hoped to have players begin testing Tuesday and start a second round of spring training on June 26. Most teams probably would hold workouts at their home ballparks rather than their spring camps in Florida and Arizona.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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