Five Phillies players get COVID, MLB closes all Spring Training facilities

As a result of Philadelphia Phillies announcing Friday five players had tested positive for COVID-19, every team in Major League Baseball will shut its spring training camp over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that all of the spring complexes in Florida and Arizona will temporarily close because of the outbreak in Clearwater.

“Soon after the Phillies became the first known team to be affected by the outbreak, Toronto shuttered its site in Dunedin, Florida, about five miles from Philadelphia’s camp in Clearwater. The Blue Jays said one player showed symptoms consistent with the virus.

“The San Francisco Giants’ facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, was shut after one person who had been to the site and one family member exhibited symptoms Thursday. Texas closed its camp about 30 miles away in Surprise, saying no one had tested positive but that it wanted to expand 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.

The Astros said they “implemented all health and safety protocols” but didn’t say the camp was closed.

Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter to players’ union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer that “the proliferation of COVID-19 outbreaks around the country over the last week, and the fact that we already know of several 40-man roster players and staff who have tested positive, has increased the risks associated with commencing spring training in the next few weeks.”

Regarding the implications of the outbreak on the season, the Phillies said “it is too early to know.”

The Phillies said three staff members at the camp also tested positive. The team didn’t identify any of those affected.

In a statement, managing partner John Middleton said, “The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority.”

“As a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected,” he said.

Two players in the Los Angeles Angels organization tested positive for COVID-19, general manager Billy Eppler said Friday.

Image by stanbalik from Pixabay

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