Manfred wants MLB ready to go

NEW YORK (AP) — Rob Manfred wants Major League Baseball to be in position to take the field whenever government and health officials give the go-ahead.

“I think it’s incumbent upon us to turn over every stone to try to play the game in 2020 if there’s any way we can in the environment,” the baseball commissioner said Wednesday during an interview with The Associated Press.

Spring training was suspended March 12 because of the new coronavirus pandemic and the season’s scheduled start on March 26 delayed. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended all gatherings of 50 people or more be put off through mid-May.

Among the plans baseball is investigating is basing all 30 teams in the Phoenix area and using the 10 spring training ballparks there, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field and possibly college facilities. Games would be played in empty stadiums; players, staff and broadcast crews and technicians would be kept in controlled environments, such as ballparks, hotels and MLB-arranged transport.

“We have tried to be cautious about trying to go too soon, based on what the public health situation is,” Manfred said. “I think we all need, no matter what your predilection is, to wait for the situation to unfold more, give us more information and then make realistic decisions about what’s possible.”

By Paul Wager

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