There are still many obstacles for MLB to overcome before the 2020 season can be played, but two Florida-based teams took their first steps this week toward getting ready by reopening some of their facilities for players to use for individual training.
The Miami Marlins became the first team to welcome players back Tuesday when they reopened their spring training facility in Jupiter, Florida. On the other side of the peninsula, the Tampa Bay Rays reportedly plan to open up their home stadium Tropicana Field for limited use beginning Monday.
Both teams only made the offer to players on their 40-man rosters. Neither club is allowing group workouts or drills just yet and their clubhouses will remain closed. While the Marlins have granted access to their batting cages and pitching mounds, the Rays will limit their players to the fields for cardio exercises and light throwing for now.
Most teams broke camp in mid-March after the coronavirus pandemic forced MLB to suspend spring training until the disease was under control. Over two months later, league officials are in negotiations with the players union over how to salvage the season.
“Me personally, I have great confidence that we’ll reach an agreement with the players association—both that it’s safe to come back to work and work out the economic issues that need to be resolved,” commissioner Rob Manfred told CNN on Thursday.
For now, all eyes are on the other 28 teams that have yet to reopen their facilities. Although some state governments still have stay-at-home orders in effect preventing clubs from taking any action, several others are expected to follow the Marlins’ and Rays’ footsteps in the coming weeks.
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