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Cubs agree with decision to delay Opening Day

‘‘The main priority here is people’s safety and health,’’ Cubs union representative Kris Bryant said. 

Sloan Park
Fans pose for photographs outside the spring training site of the Chicago Cubs,, Thursday, March 12, 2020, at Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz. Major League Baseball has announced that it is suspending the remainder of its spring training game schedule.   
Sue Ogrocki/AP

MESA, Ariz. — Shortly after their spring-training game was called off Thursday because of weather, the Cubs learned it will take them far longer to get back on the field as Major League Baseball announced a two-week hiatus that will push back Opening Day.

Spring training isn’t expected to resume until March 26 at the earliest, which was the day the Cubs were scheduled to open the season on the road against the Brewers.

Still left to be revealed is whether the schedule will start from the beginning when the season resumes — at Milwaukee, in the Cubs’ case — or whether it will start with the game originally scheduled for the day the delayed season will kick off.

‘‘The health and wellness of our fans, players and associates is our team’s top priority,’’ Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement in response to MLB’s announcement. ‘‘ . . . In the meantime, Major League Baseball is preparing a variety of contingency plans in concert with clubs regarding the 2020 regular-season schedule and will be offering updates as soon as possible.’’

The consensus in camps around baseball is that operating out of an abundance of caution is what works best for players and fans.

‘‘The main priority here is people’s safety and health,’’ Cubs union representative Kris Bryant said Wednesday. ‘‘I think we’re all willing to accept ways that will keep us safe and keep everybody else safe. I think that is the most important thing right now.’’

While teams are expected to leave their facilities open to players until camp resumes, there wasn’t expected to be mandatory participation until the official return date is set.

‘‘I just think people’s safety is of the utmost importance right now,’’ Bryant said. ‘‘Obviously, it would be nice to play games in stadiums full of fans, but there is a lot of other stuff to be taken into consideration. People’s health is the most important thing to me.’’

In the meantime, players have been advised of precautions to take.

‘‘I think it’s just standard protocol: Wash your hands,’’ manager David Ross said this week. ‘‘The doctor gave a big speech the other day about just making sure of the little details when signing autographs for fans and putting your hands in your mouth.

‘‘Doc walked through a bunch of scenarios, just the common things of washing your hands and being careful when you’re coughing or sneezing. Normal, everyday stuff, just like flu protocol.’’