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Nationals finally receive approval to use Nationals Park -- without fans

Nationals finally receive approval to use Nationals Park -- without fans

The District of Columbia approved the Nationals waiver application to use Nationals Park, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Tuesday in a press conference.

The team was waiting to hear from the District on its application to open the facility for use during the coronavirus pandemic. The Nationals first workouts are scheduled for Friday. They have multiple days of testing and on-boarding to go through prior. July 1 is when Spring Training 2.0 can begin.

“The initial waiver was for training, then of course MLB announcing that games would resume,” Christopher Rodriguez, Director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said. “We had discussions with the Nationals on what that would look like: no fans, no spectators. So they submitted plans that we approved to have the games.”

RELATED: WITHOUT FANS, HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE WILL ONLY EXIST THANKS TO PARK DIMENSIONS IN 2020

The Nationals’ season is slated to start July 23 at Nationals Park against the New York Yankees. Teams are allowed up to three exhibition games in this second iteration of spring training before the 60-game regular season begins. Washington playing Baltimore, for instance, is a possibility.

No baseball has been played inside Nationals Park since Oct. 27, 2019, when Washington lost Game 5 of the World Series to the Houston Astros before winning the series in Houston.

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The Mets found Yoenis Céspedes and he’s decided to opt out of the 2020 season

The Mets found Yoenis Céspedes and he’s decided to opt out of the 2020 season

Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes has opted out of the 2020 season, but not without a Mets-esque fiasco unfolding in the hours leading up to the announcement.

Céspedes decided not to report to Truist Park in Atlanta for the Mets’ game against the Braves on Sunday but never informed the team of that decision. New York sent a press release to reporters saying Céspedes was not at the stadium and the team had to that point been unable to contact him.

While the Mets played the Braves in a game that ended 4-0 in favor of Atlanta, a security team was reportedly sent to Céspedes’ hotel room. They found the room empty and both Céspedes and his belongings gone. When the team finally tracked down his agent, he told them he had decided not to play the rest of season for “COVID-related reasons.”

RELATED: ROB MANFRED SAYS BASEBALL IS STILL BEING PLAYED AFTER REPORTS OF POSSIBLE SHUTDOWN

The two-time All-Star’s decision comes on the heels of coronavirus outbreaks in two clubhouses (Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals) within the first 10 days of the season. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who was supposed to play the Cardinals this weekend, announced through the team his decision to opt out on Saturday.

Evidently, Céspedes didn’t take the same approach that Cain did. Céspedes has played eight games this season after missing nearly two years with various injuries. The Mets were playing him exclusively at designated hitter in an effort to keep him healthy and work him up to eventually returning back to his natural position in the outfield.

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Joe Girardi: Phillies don’t blame Marlins but ‘frustrated that we're not playing right now’

Joe Girardi: Phillies don’t blame Marlins but ‘frustrated that we're not playing right now’

The Philadelphia Phillies’ wait is just about over.

Eight days after playing the Miami Marlins in the finale of their opening series, the Phillies will finally resume their schedule Monday when they take on the New York Yankees. The Phillies have not played a game since the Marlins announced they had a coronavirus outbreak in their clubhouse. Over the past week, Miami has had 18 players and two staff members test positive for the virus while the Phillies have had three staffers but no players.

It would be understandable for the Phillies to be angry with the Marlins, who were reportedly found by MLB to have broken health protocols during a trip to Atlanta for a pair of exhibition games. Philadelphia has had to endure an unexpected layoff that could hinder pitchers from staying fresh and cause hitters to lose their timing after such a long break from facing live opponents.

RELATED: ROB MANFRED SAYS BASEBALL IS STILL BEING PLAYED AFTER REPORTS OF POSSIBLE SHUTDOWN

However, Phillies manager Joe Girardi has managed to stay upbeat throughout the entire process, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reported Sunday. The veteran skipper told Salisbury that he hasn’t heard any of the players voice complaints about the Marlins amid the extended break that has since multiple practices canceled because of positive tests.

“I haven't really heard any complaints from our guys, but understand that we don't sit around and talk like we used to. That's just not what we do,” Girardi said. “So when we do get a chance, we're pretty much talking about baseball only. I have not heard it, so I can't really tell you exactly how the players feel. I do know that they want to play and they're frustrated that we're not playing right now.

“They're not blaming anyone, but they want to play. That's what we do. I think our players are handling this great.”

The Phillies’ reward for a trying week will be an immediate test in the Yankees, including Gerrit Cole starting against them Monday night. The two teams will play twice in New York before heading down to Philadelphia for another two games to close out the series. Philadelphia will then resume its normal schedule, beginning with a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves.

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