Major League Baseball announced Friday that spring training camps would be suspended immediately, giving players the option to stay, return home, or return to their club’s home city. That decision came after a meeting with MLBPA officials in Arizona and was made “in the best interests of players, employees and the communities who host Spring Training,” per a statement from the league.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com tweeted Friday evening that most Cubs players are expected to remain in Arizona for the time being, but that they could relocate to Chicago in April. Necessity plays a big role in that decision, since many of the players have spring housing rentals that expire at the end of the month. There’s also the simple matter of routine and ease, sticking around Mesa to continue informal workouts.
The same may not be true for David Ross and his coaching staff, most of whom will be heading to their respective homes for the time being. Theo Epstein told Bastian the Cubs would maintain a “skeleton crew” at their facility similar to what they’d normally have in January to work with early arrivals to camp.
The tentative plan at this point is for spring training to pick back up at some point prior to the resumption of the regular season, which would mean bringing everyone back to Arizona. Epstein explained that those who’d returned home would need to clear some form of “medical protocol” before being admitted back to the Cubs’ facilities.
Those facilities are spic and span following a “deep clean” that took place Friday when a crew was brought in to sanitize everything. The same will be done at Wrigley Field prior to the team’s arrival there at whatever point that ends up being. We know there won’t be any games played at the Friendly Confines until at least May 1, but the players and staff will obviously be back at the ballpark before then.
In the meantime, maybe those of you trying to make good on your scuttled spring training plans can skulk around Sloan Park to catch a few of your favorite players in action.