Report: MLB prohibits teams from holding workouts before spring training

Matt Weyrich
·2 min read

Report: MLB prohibits teams from holding workouts before ST originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Major League Baseball issued a memo to all 30 teams Monday forbidding them from holding unauthorized workouts or mini-camps at their facilities until spring training begins, USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reported Tuesday.

“We have been informed that some clubs intend to increase the number of players at their Spring Training facilities in January and February prior to the commencement of spring training,’’ the memo reads, as quoted by Nightengale.

“As you are all aware, COVID-19 is surging in the United States, and conditions may worsen after the holiday season. We have not yet received firm guidance from our medical experts on whether it is safe to conduct organized workouts in Club facilities under current conditions, and the protocols that would be required to conduct such workouts safely.”

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The Cleveland Indians reportedly invited players to participate in voluntary workouts at their spring training facility in Goodyear, Arizona, beginning Wednesday. The team planned to conduct its own series of coronavirus testing and host as many as 40 players, including reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. However, MLB’s memo shut it down before the workouts began.

MLB has yet to negotiate with the players union over new COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 season, according to Nightengale. MLB will not make its leaguewide testing regimen available until spring training begins in mid-February. The only players permitted to use team facilities before then are injured players who require team-administered medical care, players who have a permanent residence nearby and other players approved by MLB.

Nightengale reported earlier this winter that MLB could push back the start of spring training and Opening Day depending on the state of the pandemic in the U.S., but nothing has been made official at this point. Training camp for minor leaguers playing in Double-A or below has already been delayed, though that has no bearing on the status of big-league spring training. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in December that his club is preparing as if both spring training and the regular season will begin on time.