With less than a day before players were set to begin reporting to a voluntary early spring training camp in Arizona, MLB has reportedly told Cleveland to hold off amid concerns over the number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona.
According to reporting from @IndiansPro on Twitter, Cleveland was planning to ramp up spring training in waves, starting with up to 10 players on Wednesday and as many as 40 by Jan. 23. Those plans have reportedly been put on hold for now.
MLB informs @Indians to hold off on early camp due to recent spike in number of new COVID 19 cases in Arizona. Arizona currently has the highest rate of new cases in the US per the @CDCgov yesterday. No new plan currently on timeline to open camp. https://t.co/9cWNyjlbI8— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) January 5, 2021
Shane Bieber, James Karinchak, Phil Maton, Cal Quantrill, Logan Allen, Bo Naylor, Bradley Zimmer, Nolan Jones, and Bryan Lavastida were expected to be the first group of players to report to camp. Presumably, this would have given top prospect Nolan Jones more time to prepare for his move to the outfield, and Cal Quantrill time to stretch out as the team’s fifth starter — now they will both have to wait.
The 2021 Major League Baseball season is still expected to start on time, but it’s far from a guarantee with Coronavirus cases spiking all across the country and in many parts of the world, and a vaccine rollout going far slower than expected.
Arizona, where half the league — including Cleveland — calls home for spring training, reported 5,916 new cases and 253 deaths on Tuesday.
If all does go well, Cleveland will open the season in Detroit on April 1.