While the confirmation of a 2020 season has already brought overwhelming excitement to the state of Major League Baseball, the coronavirus has caused about an equal amount of caution and hesitancy among most teams moving forward.
Making themselves available to the media for the first time since the reality of a season was announced, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and field skipper Dave Roberts on Thursday afternoon (via a Zoom Conference) spent most of their time addressing the precautionary measures the team will likely take in the weeks ahead.
With regards to the here and now, Friedman acknowledged that there have been some positive tests in the organization, although none exhibited any symptoms that were overly problematic. He did not share any specifics for those who have tested positive.
“I think there’s no question we’re going to have a decent number of positive tests in spring training and into the season,” Friedman said. “To me, it’s much more about how quick we are to respond to the treatment options and the quarantining part of it, making sure it doesn’t spread among the group to the extent that we can contain it.”
Undoubtedly, the virus will be a season-long obstacle for the Dodgers, as well as almost every other squad across the league.
“I think it’s something we can manage, but I don’t think anyone can sit here today and tell you exactly how things are going to play out,” Friedman added. “There’s a lot we don’t know. A lot of our conversations internally have just been about staying on our toes and staying nimble and trying to communicate our way through everything, read and react to things that pop up.”
The first formal workout for the team will be held on July 3 at Dodger Stadium. According to the protocols agreed to by the league and the players’ union earlier this week, a player must pass a series of intake tests before he is allowed to participate in team training activities.
Up to 60 players are expected to report for the Dodgers in the early days of camp. Friedman indicated that he is trying to make arrangements with the University of Southern California for an alternate training facility. He also mentioned the possibility of LoanMart Field in Rancho Cucamonga as another potential practice site.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Roberts said he consulted with his doctor and team medical staff early during the pandemic about his status as a cancer survivor and conceivably being in the high-risk category, but he was told that has no increased risk.
Roberts was treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2010.
Among the added rules for the abbreviated 2020 season is a COVID-19 Injured List with no minimum or maximum stay period. The language states that a player cannot be reactivated from the list until he has tested negative two times at least 24 hours apart, is showing no symptoms for 72 hours, and has been cleared by team doctors.