NORTH PORT — No Atlanta Braves have the coronavirus, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Friday, some relief as the team, like the rest of the sports realm, navigate uncharted waters. Major League Baseball ceased play Thursday because of the coronavirus outbreak.
MLB canceled the remainder of spring training and will delay the start of the regular season by at least two weeks. The Braves’ current plan is to stay in Florida and work out.
“For the most part, our players are staying here,” said general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who added some players can return home under extenuating circumstances. “We’re in the process of working all that out. I just don’t have a lot of answers right now.”
No Brave on the major or minor league side, currently has COVID-19, Anthopoulos said. He would not get into the details of the testing because of HIPAA laws. The medical staff has addressed players with precautions.
Braves officials met with players and coaches Friday morning, and the team had a light workout. They’ll be off Saturday and Sunday, then reconvene Monday. While the team is off, the spring training facilities will undergo a “deep cleaning,” according to Anthopoulos.
The Braves haven’t delved into the baseball side of the equation, including how they’ll manage player preparations, especially for starting pitchers. Those will be among the sports’ biggest questions as teams still try to ready for a season without a start date.
“We have talked no baseball at all,” Anthopoulos said. “This is well beyond baseball. Our discussions today were about what’s going on around the world right now and our families. … Today was not a day to get into baseball at all.”
The Braves issued a statement Friday afternoon:
“Yesterday, Major League Baseball cancelled the remaining scheduled spring training games and will delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In these unprecedented times, we are reminded, the healthy and safety of our fans, employees, players and the community at large has been, and always will be, a priority for us. While MLB works through a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule, we ask that you remain patient and flexible as we continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation and work with MLB towards a solution that protects public health and safety.
“While we are disappointed to begin our season later than anticipated, we continue to be grateful for the passion our fans have for our organization.
“As we learn more as it specifically relates to your membership and tickets, we will be in touch. In the meantime, stay safe.”