SCOTTSDALE – For most segments of American society, major league baseball in general and the Arizona Diamondbacks in particular have limited answers to the continuing virus dilemma.
That was made known late Friday afternoon by general manager Mike Hazen in a conference call with Arizona media. Originally, the Diamondbacks scheduled a media session with Hazen and field manager Torey Lovullo on site at Salt River for Friday afternoon. That alert was sent to local media Thursday night, but revised Friday morning. That new directive resulted from initiative from Major League Baseball.
In the latest instruction in this constantly moving and fluid environment, non-essential personnel, including fans and media, were excluded from all Florida and Arizona spring training facilities. As a result, a conference call was then established for noon, Arizona time, with Lovullo and Hazen. When that was cancelled, Hazen was then available late Friday on that conference call, and merely reiterated what government and health officials have been telling the American people.
“At some point, we’ll be back to playing baseball,” Hazen said. “In the meantime, the health and safety of our players, organization, fans and those in the media who cover us, remain our highest priority. Health and safety cannot be compromised.”
At this point, all 30 clubs entertain two options.
While facilities remain open for player use, there is also the option of returning home. The Diamondbacks are in a unique situation because their training camp facility lays in their home city. For the most past, players live in the area and selected the option of working out at the Salt River facility.
For the Diamondbacks’ minor leaguers using the Salt River camp, they are encouraged to return home and continue work outs. For those remaining, and especially on the major league roster, informal workouts can proceed.
The Diamondbacks are closing the Salt River facility this Saturday and Sunday for a thorough cleaning and will open up on Monday for player workouts. At this point, there is no discussion with other Arizona-based spring training teams to engage in any type of game situation or any form of competition. Pitchers are encouraged to continue their routine and hitters will likely swing in batting cages.
Though no player in the Arizona organization tested positive for the Coronavirus, one minor league player from the Dominion Republic underwent testing for the flu. Hazen reported that test came back negative, but the club’s medical officials are continuously monitoring all personnel.
“We are in a unique situation because this is our home city,” Hazen added. “We will continue to use the (Salt River facility) and make this is as safe as possible.”
Since officials of Major League Baseball suspended the season earlier this week, speculation now abounds on the start of play. The first directive was a two-week delay and by Friday, rumor hinted that the start would be pushed ahead to early May. Hazen would not speculate on an actual date for resumption of play and merely reiterated with “a wait-and-see” position.
In the meantime, stadiums remain empty, the sounds of game fall silent and ‘the Boys of Summer” wait like the rest of us.