Blue Jays talking to other MLB teams about playing at their parks

Canada denied the Blue Jays’ request to play at Rogers Centre because the regular-season schedule would require frequent travel back and forth from the United States, where COVID-19 cases are surging.

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Empty seats are viewed inside Rogers Centre during Toronto Blue Jays batting practice at baseball summer training in Toronto.

Empty seats are viewed inside Rogers Centre during Toronto Blue Jays batting practice at baseball summer training in Toronto.

Cole Burston/The Canadian Press via AP

TORONTO — The Blue Jays are talking to several teams about sharing a major league ballpark this season after Canada’s government barred Toronto from playing in its home stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic, general manager Ross Atkins said Monday.

“We would much rather be in a major league facility,” Atkins said.

He declined to identify the teams but said the Blue Jays have more than five contingency plans.

Canada denied the Blue Jays’ request to play at Rogers Centre because the regular-season schedule would require frequent travel back and forth from the United States, where COVID-19 cases are surging.

Atkins said if the Blue Jays can’t find a major league park, their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York, would be their most likely site for home games.

Atkins said health and safety is the priority, so the ability to socially distance without compromising other teams is important.

Toronto begins the season at Tampa Bay on Friday and is scheduled to play its first home game on July 29 against defending champion Washington.

The team had been considering playing home games at its training facility in Dunedin, Florida, which is among the states that are virus hotspots, or Sahlen Field in Buffalo, just across the Niagara River from Canada. Players have told management they want to be in a major league park.

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said Saturday that player health is a concern in Florida. He said the team has spent more time examining Buffalo in recent days but said the stadium has numerous infrastructure challenges.

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