UPDATE, MONDAY, 6:31 AM: Japanese officials postponed the start of the 12-team NPB league season this morning because of the spread of the coronavirus.
SUNDAY: Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich report in The Athletic that commissioner Rob Manfred will be having a conference call tomorrow with all team owners about the COVID-19 outbreak. Rosenthal and Drellich report that the league expects the season to proceed as planned.
The conference call is the first time all of the owners and Manfred have spoken together about COVID-19 and their plans for the potential impact of the disease on business. The NBA has advised its teams that they should be prepared to play games without fans in attendance. Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s top baseball league, has been playing its spring training games to empty stands.
Each MLB team is developing its own contingency plans, and the league itself is coordinating with the CDC.
As we wrote yesterday, teams are already limiting the access fans have to players by changing their autograph policies. With the outbreak only expected to grow in size, one can imagine that further steps may be taken within the baseball world to maintain security.
If you want to learn more about COVID-19, give the CDC’s site about the virus a read. Informing yourself is the most important first step.
MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.
The entire camp was placed in quarantine.
“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”
Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.
The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.
“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”