MLB tells managers spring training will start on time

Managers have said that they expect health protocols to remain in place to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.

SHARE MLB tells managers spring training will start on time
Young fans look out to the practice fields at Sloan Park earlier this year.

Young fans look out to the practice fields at Sloan Park earlier this year.

Sue Ogrocki/AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Big league managers say Major League Baseball has instructed them to prepare for spring training to start on time in mid-February despite uncertainty around the coronavirus.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said Wednesday that officials from the commissioner’s office had a meeting with managers Tuesday and expressed optimism about opening spring camps as scheduled.

“That message has been fairly consistent,” Cash said. “We’ll continue to plan and prepare until if we are told otherwise.”

Managers have said this week during digital Winter Meetings press availabilities that they expect health protocols to remain in place to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. Teams instituted a number of policies during a pandemic-shortened 60-game regular season in 2020 that produced better results as the year went on, largely keeping players and staff safe even as teams traveled around the country.

“I think Major League Baseball was somewhat the petri dish,” Cash said. “We were the first real big sport to really get going outside of a bubble. Obviously if you look at last year’s situation, Major League Baseball, everybody adjusted on the fly. Now there’s more sports that have done things, accomplished things.”

A vaccine for the novel coronavirus is likely to be made available to teams some time during the 2021 season, and while managers say they plan to be inoculated, no manager or team has said it will mandate vaccines for players. Most said they were eager to provide information to players, but not to issue directions.

“I don’t think it would be right for me to point the finger and say, you’ve got to do this,” Cash said. “We just don’t operate like that. We’ll lean on the experts to give us as much information as possible so individuals can make the best decisions for themselves and families.”

“I think we’ll have a lot more information and clarity and direction in a couple of months, if and when that conversation becomes a reality,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I don’t feel equipped to have that conversation today.”

The Latest
In an alert sent Sunday, Chicago police said the man has pulled out a gun and robbed at least five victims after meeting at an agreed-upon location. In one instance, the man met the person at their home and stole their vehicle.
“It’s not the first half we wanted, but we just gotta keep showing up, playing hard,” left fielder Andrew Benintendi said.
Cubs center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong logged the first multi-homer game of his career.
Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was shot to death when a gunman tried to assassinate President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami in 1933. Roosevelt was unhurt.
Police responded to a ShotSpotter alert in the 3700 block of West Polk Street about 12:41 p.m. Sunday and found the three men shot, police said. One man died, and two others are hospitalized. No one is in custody.