Major League Baseball issued a memo Sunday advising teams to avoid group workouts while the sport is on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Clubs should avoid all activities in which players congregate in significant numbers or are otherwise unable to practice the ‘social distancing’ protocols recommended by the CDC,” read the memo from deputy commissioner Dan Halem.
“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.”
On Thursday, the league cancelled the rest of spring training and delayed the opening of the 2020 season for at least two weeks.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has scheduled a conference call for Monday at noon ET to update teams on further developments and to provide more guidance.
Players on 40-man roster permitted to stay at camp
“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,” the memo states, referring to both spring training sites and home ballparks.
MLB also advised non-roster players to return to their off-season residences if possible. If international travel is not practical or players reside in high-risk areas in the U.S., teams are expected to provide accommodations.
Players on the 40-man roster are currently permitted to remain at spring training camps and pursue individual workouts, “but we anticipate that may change in the coming days as events continue to unfold and players become better educated about current conditions,” the memo states.
Before the issuance of the memo, the New York Yankees voted to remain and work out together at their spring training facility in Tampa, Fla., and the San Diego Padres stayed on site in Peoria, Ariz.
Both non-roster players and players on the 40-man roster who require ongoing medical care will continue to have access to treatment.