All MLB spring camps to close temporarily after positive coronavirus tests

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All major league baseball training camps will be temporarily closed, a source told ESPN after several teams reported positive coronavirus tests on Friday.Spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona will undergo a thorough cleanup, and players will have to test negative before they can enter, according to several reports. The news was first reported by USA Today Sports.

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

The Phillies closed their spring training center in Clearwater, Florida after five players and three staff tested positive for the coronavirus. The Blue Jays closed their site in Dunedin, Florida, about 8 km from the Phillies camp, after a player showed symptoms compatible with the virus.

The Arizona Giants facility in Scottsdale was shut down after someone who visited the site and a family member had symptoms on Thursday. The Rangers also closed their camp at Surprise, saying that no player or staff member had tested positive but wanted to extend the COVID-19 test protocols.

Houston Astros general manager James Click said Friday that a player who worked 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 statement said they “had informed the MLB and implemented all health and safety protocols”, but did not say the team had closed the facility.

Two Los Angeles Angels players tested positive for COVID-19, general manager Billy Eppler said Friday, although he does not say whether they were on the major league or minor league list. Players who tested positive had not worked in Anaheim or Tempe, according to Eppler.

Washington Nationals World Championship champion, who hasn’t reopened the spring camp they share with Houston after closing their portion in mid-March, said a minor league player had tested positive in the Dominican Republic. The team said the player was not at home.

The Phillies said in a statement on Friday that their facilities will remain closed until medical officials are satisfied that the virus is under control. The team’s first confirmed case occurred on Tuesday. Eight staff gave a negative result and 20 players and 12 other staff are awaiting the test results.

The symptomless Blue Jays player is a pitcher from the 40 player list who recently spent time with players from the Phillies minor league system, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan. It has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results.

Several players working in the Blue Jays have stated that they have not been tested. If the player with symptoms is not an isolated case, testing will intensify.

“We are too cautious with testing,” Ross Jkins, general manager of the Blue Jays, told ESPN.

The Phillies declined to comment on the implication of positive tests for the coming season, saying it was too early to know.

The facility closings come as owners and players of Major League Baseball try to negotiate a deal, including health protocols, to start the season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some players had recently worked at spring training sites while practicing social distancing.

The teams hoped the players would start testing on Tuesday and begin a second training cycle in the spring on June 26. Most teams would likely organize training at their baseball fields rather than at their spring camps in Florida and Arizona.

Florida has seen an increase in the number of new cases and in positive case rates for COVID-19. In the past two weeks, the sliding average number of new daily cases in Florida has increased by 1,422.7, or 144.4%.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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