The MLB is advising players to return home following the cancellation of spring training and a two-week delay of the regular season to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The plan is not mandatory, however, as players from other countries would reportedly prefer to remain in training camp away from viral hotspots, with access to basic necessities, The Associated Press reported.
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MLB announced on Thursday that it would be nixing the rest of spring training and pushing the start of the regular season by two weeks.
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“MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season,” the league said in a statement. “Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.
“MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular-season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.”
The decision comes after the NBA chose to suspend its entire season until further notice. when a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus.
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The NCAA announced Thursday that it has canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments over the coronavirus outbreak
Major League Soccer and the NHL have put their seasons on hold as well.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and Frank Miles contributed to this report