D-backs test 1 player for coronavirus, take other steps during MLB hiatus

Mar 13, 2020, 5:14 PM | Updated: 8:28 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said Friday that one minor league player in the organization had been tested for coronavirus “out of an abundance of caution,” but the results for that test had not yet come back.

“We have advised our players to report any symptoms to us,” Hazen said.

“We had a few kids that got sick down in the Dominican Republic at our academy, and out of an abundance of caution with people coming up from the Dominican over the last month, that’s what the doctor recommended us to do.”

Major League Baseball announced Friday that spring training camps are suspended, effective immediately, a day after MLB announced the season would be delayed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. MLB’s statement said that players could elect to go home, stay in the city where they have spring training or go to their team’s home city.

For many Diamondbacks players, those three places are all one place. But the team is allowing players to go home, wherever that is, Hazen said.

For many minor league players, home is elsewhere than the Phoenix metro area.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Diamondbacks’ facility — which is shared with the Colorado Rockies — will undergo a deep cleaning, although it wasn’t clear whether that cleaning would apply to just the Diamondbacks’ side of the split facility at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.

Starting Monday, the facility will be open to players on an optional basis. Some staff will remain at the facility to help players with workouts if needed.

“We’re in a little bit of a unique situation because, for the most part, we’re in our home city,” Hazen said. “So home, for a lot of our players, is here. And we felt like our gym, our workout facility, is the home workout facility for a lot of our players through the offseason anyway. A couple players have expressed that to us in terms of not going outside of that to all of a sudden go work out. So we want to make sure and encourage guys to continue to use our facilities as needed.

“We are obviously taking every precaution necessary and as a group with guidance to ensure the standards of cleanliness and standard of the facility to make sure this is still a safe environment for everybody.”

Hazen figured that a lot of minor league players would go home. Players who don’t live in Phoenix were encouraged to go home if they wish, “given the lack of formality of workouts.” Others can continue coming to the spring training facility and working out.

“We’re going to try to do as best we can accommodate players being able to stay in shape, whatever type of workout they may need,” Hazen said. “It obviously won’t involve any type of game play. [Batting practice], in the cages, toss and tee work for the hitters, maybe some ground balls, maybe pitchers keeping in shape, keeping their arms in shape, workouts in the weight rooms, things like that.”

There will be no organized or mandatory workouts.

Former Diamondbacks player and current front office member Luis Gonzalez told Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports on Friday that now days, players tend to keep in shape all year anyway. Being in shape when the regular season does finally get underway shouldn’t be a problem.

“I think in the past when guys used to come to camp, they would come in and they would work their way into shape,” Gonzalez said. “You’re seeing a lot bigger and stronger athletes now that kind of work out all year-round. So you would hope that now with this delay in the season that they continue to maintain. And like the Diamondbacks are doing here, the facility is still open to our big-leaguers.

“[On Friday], the minor-leaguers had off while trying to figure out what’s going to happen here with their season because they start later than the big-leaguers. So there’s no need for these guys to be out here ramping up if they’re not going to start for another month or month-and-a-half.”

D-backs catcher Steven Vogt advocated Thursday for the continued use of the spring training facility.

“The safest place is probably the complex for us,” he said. “We haven’t had an issue yet so for us to go out and find a gym membership … would probably be putting us at more risk to get it.”

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