Major League Baseball on Wednesday issued a memo advising all 30 teams to restrict access to their facilities prior to spring training, according to a report from USA Today.
Several teams had been preparing to open their spring-training sites so players and staffers could partake in voluntary workouts. MLB, however, is concerned about COVID-19 protocols and negotiations over those protocols with the MLBPA.
USA Today obtained a memo that reads:
"We have been informed that some clubs intend to increase the number of players at their Spring Training facilities in January and February prior to the commencement of spring training. As you are all aware, COVID-19 is surging in the United States, and conditions may worsen after the holiday season. We have not yet received firm guidance from our medical experts on whether it is safe to conduct organized workouts in Club facilities under current conditions, and the protocols that would be required to conduct such workouts safely.
"We also have not yet negotiated with the Players Association over the health and safety protocols that will be applicable to 2021 Spring Training and the 2021 season. Finally, the intensive COVID-19 testing protocol that we utilized in 2020, which is necessary when the risk of community transmission is high, will not be available to clubs from central baseball until the start of Spring Training.
"As a result, until the commencement of spring training ... clubs may not direct, encourage, or request (even on a voluntary basis) that players travel from their present locations to the club's spring training site for the purpose of utilizing club facilities."
The memo goes on to warn anyone not adhering to these guidelines with "significant discipline by the commissioner."
Spring training is scheduled to begin in Florida and Arizona on Feb. 17. For now, just players that live near the facilities, players that need medical care, and players that have been approved to attend club-organized mini-camps by the MLB/MLBPA basic agreement have access to the teams' facilities.
--Field Level Media