Report: MLB Issues Coronavirus Memo, Doesn't Plan to Cancel Games


As concerns over the coronavirus outbreak grow, MLB has established an internal task force to deal with potential issues this season, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Passan reports MLB issued a memo to hundreds of baseball officials Tuesday morning offering suggestions for teams, including players not taking balls and pens directly from fans for autographs. The memo also reportedly suggests players don't shake hands with fans, and that teams should communicate with a local public health authority. It also recommends that medical personnel should ensure all players received the 2019-20 flu vaccine.

As an alternative to taking balls and pens directly from fans for autographs, a number of teams are having players sign balls in the clubhouse before games and then flipping them to fans in the stands, according to Passan on Wednesday night.

The league currently has no plans to cancel or postpone spring training and regular season games, according to Passan.

MLB is reportedly working on recommendations for how to stop the spread of coronavirus at ballparks and cleaning methods for clubhouses.

The memo stated MLB has received questions about clubhouse access for media members and scouts who have traveled to countries where coronavirus has spread. Some teams have limited access to people who have traveled to Iran, Italy and South Korea. Those countries are not on the Center for Disease Control's recommended two-week quarantine list.

Worldwide, more than 92,000 people have been infected and over 3,100 have died from coronavirus, the vast majority of them in China. The number of countries hit by the virus have reached at least 70, with Ukraine and Morocco reporting their first cases this week.

The death toll in the U.S. rose to nine on Tuesday. All of the deaths have occurred in Washington state, and most were residents of a nursing home in suburban Seattle. The number of infections in the nation overall climbed past 100, scattered across at least 15 states, with 27 cases in Washington alone.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.