As the Major League Baseball season remains in limbo, the Seattle Mariners are preparing for a lengthy absence and announced Wednesday they have shut down their spring facilities in Arizona in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Players are not expected to be ready to immediately jump into game action.
"(We’ve) effectively told our guys we need you to go into offseason mode psychologically, emotionally and understand whatever time we get back to playing, we’ll have time to ramp back up," general manager Jerry Dipoto said, according to Tim Booth of The Associated Press. "We’re not going to ask guys to go from, from zero to 60 at the snap of a finger."
Dipoto said the bulk of the 40-man roster has returned home and few players were showing up to the facilities for workouts in recent days. So far, no Mariners players have exhibited coronavirus symptoms.
"We're checking in with our players every day," Dipoto said. "Our medical training teams are checking in using a variety of mediums and right now we don’t have a player that’s shown symptoms."
Dipoto added he plans on returning to Seattle in the coming days to work from home like most of his staff.
Additionally, the Mariners will not open their academy in the Dominican Republic for the time being.
The regular season was supposed to open on March 26. The earliest opportunity for Opening Day is sometime in mid-May, though it could be delayed further.