The Giants’ spring facilities had remained as an outlier in an increasingly quarantined world, but coronavirus has come for just about everything in its path.
The Giants officially closed their major league and minor league facilities in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday, Farhan Zaidi said a day earlier, as they try to follow the protocols for social distancing to fight the pandemic that has shut down baseball through at least mid-May.
The Giants already had “strongly encouraged” all players to head home, but a few stragglers remained because they a) live in Arizona, b) wanted to stay close to the facilities for rehab or c) could not travel for safety reasons. Those players no longer will be able to work out at the complexes, the Giants fearful of grouping together.
There were a handful on the major league side and 15-20 international players, mostly from Venezuela, on the minor league side. The next time the camps open, the Giants hope, will be for a sort of second spring training as Zaidi anticipates players needing a “pretty extensive ramp-up period” to prepare for the 2020 season — if the 2020 season is actually played. Because the Giants can’t host a workout facility and they are encouraging players not to seek public ones, getting back into shape will take time.
“Even going out to public cages and workout facilities is not something that we would recommend right now,” Zaidi said on a conference call.
In the meantime, minor leaguers will be paid through April 8, MLB announced Thursday, and the Giants will go a step further with their own minor leaguers. The team will pay “full allowances for players who weren’t at the team hotel while they were at camp to help with any outstanding rent or lease payments they have,” Zaidi said. The Giants also will pay hotel accommodations for the players still around Scottsdale.
No Giants have been tested for COVID-19 or have shown symptoms.
“We’re continuing to monitor not just potential symptoms of people that work in camp … but also people that might have come through our camp,” the president of baseball operations said.
And the Giants wait. Scouts have been off the road since last Thursday. Players no longer have a meeting place. Mid-May — the earliest possible start date — is far off.