NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball says it doesn’t plan to alter its schedule because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“While MLB recognizes the fluidity of this rapidly evolving situation, our current intention is to play spring training and regular season games as scheduled,” the league said in a statement.
Commissioner Rob Manfred held a conference call with the 30 teams Monday to discuss the health crisis.
All clubs are set to open the season March 26. Among the games are Texas at Seattle, the World Series champion Washington Nationals at the New York Mets and San Francisco visiting Dodger Stadium.
The Seattle area has been hit hard by the virus outbreak. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said there hasn’t been any discussion with MLB or the Mariners about swapping home dates for that opening series, but said Texas’ new ballpark would be ready if it came to that.
Spring training games are continuing in Florida and Arizona. There are exhibitions set for later this month in Montreal, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and Sacramento, California, among other sites.
“The health and safety of everyone in our communities is of the utmost importance to us. We have been engaging on an ongoing basis with a wide range of public health experts, infectious disease specialists, and governmental agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to obtain the latest information,” MLB said.
MLB joined with the NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer on Monday in temporarily banning all nonessential personnel from locker rooms.
In Tokyo, Japanese officials postponed the start of the 12-team professional baseball league season on Monday because of the spread of the virus.
The season was to begin on March 20. Preseason games had been played without fans because of the virus.
Japanese baseball officials said they were unsure when the season might start, but mentioned some time in April.