CLEVELAND, Ohio – Spring Training I was canceled March 12th last season due to the coronavirus. The virus is still here, which should be another challenge for the 30 MLB teams that train in Arizona and Florida.
MLB, whose warehouse is slated to open on March 17th, is already adjusting the schedules for the Cactus and Grapefruit League. The revised schedule is expected to be announced later this week.
No big change is expected for teams in Arizona and the Cactus League. The teams are closer together and traveling is much easier than in Florida.
The Indians are expected to postpone their spring start at the Goodyear Ballpark from February 27th to 28th. Split squad games will be canceled and teams could be given an extra day of rest to keep their players, managers, coaches and staff healthy. The Indians had split squads planned for March 7th and 16th.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale said the MLB and MLBPA could announce health and safety protocols for spring training on Tuesday.
The Florida spring training schedule is expected to require more staff changes. It has been reported that the schedule will put teams in pods. For example, teams on the east coast of Florida play against each other while teams on the west coast play against each other. Reduce travel and exposure to the virus.
Manager Terry Francona expected that this spring training last season would be more challenging than the spring training II. After the spring training I was canceled on March 12th, the spring training II only started in July. The 60-game season opened on July 23.
Here is one of the reasons this could be a long spring. Indian players, coaches and staff who come to Goodyear, Arizona from another state will have to spend two days in isolation and then get tested for the virus. The results can take up to 36 hours to get into the team’s training camp bubble.
Players may also need to stay in their hotel rooms or residences when not at the Goodyear training complex. Eating indoors in certain restaurants may also be prohibited. These rules are expected to be set between the MLB and the players as part of the health and safety protocols for spring training and the regular season set to begin April 1st.
Free Agents Update: Tyler Naquin and Oliver Perez, two of several players who became free agents last season at the end of the Indian season, are still looking for work. Carlos Santana, Kansas City; Brad Hand, Washington; Sandy Leon, Miami (minor league); Anthony Gose, Indian (minor league); Mike Freeman, Indian (minor league); Delino DeShields, Texas (Minor League) and Hunter Wood, Texas (Minor League) have found jobs.
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