The Giants were supposed to break camp this weekend, packing up their belongings and hopping on a flight back to the Bay Area, where they would visit the Sacramento River Cats for the first of three exhibitions.
The spread of the coronavirus halted those plans, and on Thursday the organization took one final step towards a full shutdown. After initially planning to keep their facilities open, the Giants have decided to shut down Scottsdale Stadium as well as their minor league facility a few miles away. Players who have remained in the area were allowed to stop by Thursday to pack up and talk to the staff about how to get through the coming weeks and months.
"We felt for the safety of our players and staff it just makes sense to close the facility down entirely," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said. "Just with the current environment, even with some of the needs of players we have discussed, we just didn't think it was appropriate for us to facilitate having that many people in the same building."
The Giants had kept both facilities open on a limited basis even as the majority of their players left Arizona. Some live in the Phoenix area full-time and some veterans have chosen to stay there instead of returning to their hometowns, where outbreaks have been worse than in Phoenix, in many cases. Zaidi said anywhere from five to 15 people were in the building every day on the big league side, but the numbers were higher on the minor league side.
It is the latter group that is a primary concern right now. While the Giants were able to safely get most of their players home, they have young international prospects in minor league camp who cannot fly to their home countries because of travel restrictions. Zaidi said there were about 15-20 prospects who fit that designation, with most of them having come from Venezuela. The Giants are providing housing and financial support to those players as well as any others who remain in the area. Zaidi said the financial allowance goes beyond what MLB recommended earlier in the day.
Zaidi admitted there are more questions than answers right now on what a schedule might look like when this is all over, how teams will conduct business (including the draft), and how long it might take for players to get back in shape when they're allowed to come back together as a group. The Giants right now are just trying to make sure their players are safe and sound.
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A few minutes before Zaidi spoke to reporters, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that they have had multiple members of the organization test positive for coronavirus. Just seconds after the call ended, Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart announced that he has tested positive. It is spreading through the sports world, but Zaidi said nobody from the Giants organization has been tested so far.
"As of now, nothing has risen to the level where anybody needs to be tested because of symptoms or contact," Zaidi said.