Charlotte Sports Park

The Rays’ practice fields at Charlotte Sports Park will remain open for now.

Tampa Bay Rays team presidents Brian Auld and Matt Silverman announced Sunday they will close the team offices at Tropicana Field, and the Rowdies offices at Al Lang Stadium, through at least March 29 to “all staff not absolutely required” to be there.

In sharing a long memo to staff on Twitter, the team presidents warned “there is good reason to believe (the coronavirus) is spreading rapidly throughout Florida” and that “now is the time to take aggressive action to protect your household and to isolate yourself in service of us all.’’

They also shared advice and precautions they said their families are taking, such as not allowing any visitors or service providers in their homes, not going out to restaurants or bars, stocking up on non-perishable food items.

Operating in a quick-changing environment, Major League Baseball is instructing the Rays and other teams to curtail activities at their spring camps in an effort to limit exposure to the coronavirus.

In a memo sent Sunday, the league told teams that players not on the 40-man roster — among the Rays, for example, that would include veteran pitcher Aaron Loup and catchers Chris Herrmann and Kevan Smith — should be sent home, and that all non-essential staff return to the team’s regular-season site.

As of now, teams are required to keep the spring facilities open for any major-league players who want to work out there informally and have to have a limited staff on hand, including medical care. Those players who stay are eligible to continue to receive their $195 daily per diem allowance for food and housing.

As a result, the Rays plan to have their Port Charlotte facility open Monday for any players who want to work out there, though with strong recommendations to not have them gather in “significant numbers” and remain able to practice proper social distancing methods.

The Rays, who sent most of their 150-plus minor-leaguers home Saturday, were also instructed to send home players from their academy in the Dominican Republic.

In the memo, the league acknowledges those plans are subject to further change, and that commissioner Rob Manfred plans a Monday conference call to provide further updates to teams from their medical experts.


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