In a conference call with the media, General Manager Mike Hazen talked about how the team will operate while baseball activities are suspended due to the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately I forgot to call in, so the information I’m presenting is second hand and from Steve Gilbert’s Twitter.
From the call, Hazen reported that no player in camp had contracted the virus and one minor league player being tested for it. A few other players were also sick, but tested negative for the flu. We’re still waiting on the results on the player tested for the virus, but hopefully it comes up as negative. Over the weekend, the entire Spring Training facility will undergo a deep cleaning to try to kill any traces of the virus and make it sanitary enough for players to work out again. Players will then have the option to sit at home or come to the facility to continue to work out. The facility will have full access to trainers, food, and other necessities for the players to continue to train. Hazen iterated that the message sent to the players was also the same for the coaches. I’m not sure how each player will react moving forward, but I expect most of the players who are likely to contribute to the MLB team to stay in Arizona.
In regards to their scouting department, most scouts have been advised to not do any air travel and can continue their assignments if they feel comfortable driving. I’m not sure how much they can do with high school and college programs closing up shop for the year. Eventually I do think a solution to that issue will arise before the draft, whether it’s player showcases in a central location or scouts interviewing the players to get an idea of their mental makeup as part of their reports prior to the draft. I’m not sure how the draft process will play out although it will most likely resume on schedule in some capacity given how easy it is to communicate from long distances.
Zach Buchanan also posted a very informative Twitter thread yesterday about how the virus is affecting the D-backs, one worth reading. Outside of the players, non-baseball operation employees on the team will be working remotely from home. The current idea that Derrick Hall floated about yesterday is there is a plan to add on to the tail-end of the schedule if it’s a short break. Given that the players are given the option of being sent home, it seems like this isn’t going to blow over in just a few weeks. The longer the delay, the longer ramp up to the start of the season and shorter the regular season will be. MLB will be monitoring how the NBA deals with having two Jazz players testing positive for the virus as part of their plan to combat this viral outbreak.