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Phillies Close Down Clearwater Facility After Multiple Positive COVID-19 Tests

The Blue Jays also closed their facility in Dunedin, Fla., after a player showed COVID-19 symptoms

The Philadelphia Phillies have closed their Clearwater, Fla., training facility indefinitely after five players and three staff members working at the site tested positive for COVID-19, the club announced Friday. 

“The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said in a statement Friday, “and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected.”

The club said that the first confirmed COVID-19 test came this past Tuesday. Eight staff members have tested negative for the virus while 32 people (12 staff members and 20 players—both major- and minor-leaguers) living in the area are awaiting further results. 

The team declined to comment on the implications of the outbreak on the 2020 season.

The Toronto Blue Jays also shut down their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., on Thursday when a player showed symptoms of COVID-19, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. Dunedin is located about five miles north of Clearwater.

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"The Blue Jays player exhibiting the symptoms is a pitcher on the 40-man roster who recently had spent time with players in the Phillies’ minor leagues system, according to sources. He has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results," Passan reported on Twitter.

On Thursday, the MLBPA proposed a 70-game season to the league, though, MLB is reportedly unlikely to accept the proposal.

The union's most recent proposal comes days after Manfred said he was "not confident" a season would take place this year. Many MLB players have called for the league to set parameters for a season after negotiations between the two parties did not gain traction.

MLB players have deferred to an agreement between the union and the league from March 26 that states MLB has the authority to unilaterally set the schedule, so long as the players are paid their full prorated salaries.

The league initially set its sights on returning in time for July 4, but that timeline stalled while MLB and the MLBPA negotiated for weeks to reach a possible deal on starting the season.