Following the lead of the other major sports leagues, MLB announced that all spring training games have been cancelled, and they will delay the start of the 2020 regular season at least two weeks due to coronavirus concerns.
Starting at 4 p.m. EST, spring training games will not be played, as MLB will continue to evaluate the situation. The decision came after a call with all 30 teams and consulting the MLBPA.
Here's the full press release from MLB:
Following a call with the 30 Clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans.
MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.
MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.
While guidelines for players regarding workouts and daily operations are still up in the air, The Post's Joel Sherman reported earlier that the league will be asking players to stay at their spring training sites so that they don't scatter across the country. The virus makes flying one of the most dangerous things to do at the moment.
Sherman later reported that MLB did in fact send memos to all teams advising players to stay at their spring training locales through Sunday to keep them with their team physicians and away from known affected areas.
This decision by MLB mirrors that of the NBA -- the first league to suspend their season due to Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell both contracting the virus -- NHL and MLS. A majority of NCAA conferences cancelled their championship tournaments, and the NCAA Tournament has now been cancelled as well.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said earlier Thursday that the team's scouting department has been sent home, while manager Aaron Boone said he would pivot his preparations for Opening Day if an announcement came. It's now here and he must wait like the rest of us to see when exactly the season will be allowed to resume.
Gerrit Cole, the team's Opening Day starter, added that the situation is a "shock," while J.A. Happ said "to see a whole league be postponed for the time being, we just haven't seen it."