MLB will not force spring training sites to close as coronavirus concerns push back Opening Day again

Major League Baseball is telling teams to avoid holding workouts but will not force spring training sites to close entirely, commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday. The league has been in constant communication with the players union as the two sides try to navigate their way through a league shutdown over the coronavirus pandemic. MLB said Monday that the season will not begin until mid-May at the earliest, as the league follows CDC guidelines.

In a weekend memo, MLB advised non-roster players to head home from spring training, but many from the 40-man roster remain at various camps across Florida and Arizona. Manfred told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the league is "encouraging players to make a decision where they want to be over an extended period of time."

"We did agree with the MLBPA that spring training sites would remain open – but the thought there is with a skeleton crew," Manfred said. "Really, to give players some place to use a gym as opposed to being forced out into a public gym and the like. We're really encouraging players to make a decision where they want to be over an extended period of time and get to that location as soon as possible."

The MLBPA has continued its dialogue with the league on a number of issues, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal acquired a memo that MLBPA sent to agents, which noted that a roster freeze is expected soon. It's not expected to lift until camps re-open, and the MLBPA wants to protect players with March opt-out clauses, Rosenthal adds. 

Here are some of the other issues the players union is hoping to address with the league:

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Katherine Acquavella joined CBS Sports in 2018. Her work has appeared in Yankees Magazine and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Memories and Dreams magazine. She is a graduate of St. John's... Full Bio

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