Reports: MLB to suspend spring training, likely delay season over coronavirus

Major League Baseball is expected to suspend spring training due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports, likely leading to a delayed start to the season.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports the suspension will take effect Friday.

The NBA became the first major American league to suspend its season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, and other sports’ governing bodies have since moved quickly to cancel other competitions such as college basketball conference tournaments and soccer matches.

Reports of the possible suspension came as teams played Grapefruit League games in front of crowds around Florida’s spring training camps.

MLB’s regular season had been scheduled to begin on March 26.

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Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward told reporters players would support caution. “We just want to be safe.”

The league had been considering fallback options in case early season games could not be played at their scheduled locations. It was already known that the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics would have to move their home-opening series.

After the NBA’s outbreak, things appeared to move more rapidly toward a wider response.  

Earlier reports indicated that some teams began to pull scouts off the road and send them home because of coronavirus concerns on Wednesday.

“You know, if something happened during the season to a player, it’s at least two weeks they have to wait in quarantine, everybody,” Todd Frazier told reporters Wednesday. “It could be a crazy season for a team, because if you miss 14 days, that’s basically 12, 13 games of baseball, you basically can’t get back or have to start over at the end of the year. We’ll see what happens.”

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