Rather than resuming Spring Training in the Bronx, the Yankees will head back down to Tampa.
While MLB's latest proposal, bringing baseball back amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, aims to have all 30 big-league clubs playing in their home ballparks, the virus' presence in New York City is influencing the Bombers to return to Florida.
Bob Klapisch of the Newark Star-Ledger first reported on Thursday that the Yankees would be heading south while MLB Network's Jon Heyman confirmed it was the amount of COVID-19 cases locally that influenced said decision.
On Tuesday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed in a daily coronavirus briefing that he is working to bring professional sports back in the state.
"Anything we can do to make it happen and make it happen safely, we will," Cuomo said, revealing that New York would be a "full partner" throughout the process of restarting games.
While using the organization's facility in Tampa gives the Yankees an opportunity to utilize multiple fields at once – perhaps an easier way to socially distance – those in attendance will have to cope with the state's stifling summer heat.
New York was situated at the franchise's facility in Tampa up until Spring Training came to a screeching half in mid-March when all MLB activity was shut down. Since Opening Day was postponed and in the midst of this ongoing coronavirus-induced hiatus, the Yankees have dispersed across the country and around the world.
That said, a handful of players and coaches have stuck around, frequenting George M. Steinbrenner Field on a daily basis to get their work in. That group includes both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton who have both been rehabilitating from injury during this extended offseason.
Last month, one option for MLB's long-awaited restart was to have all teams relocate to their Spring Training sites and realign divisions based upon geographic location within the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues (in Florida and Arizona respectively).
That plan, along with the 'Arizona Plan,' both have taken a back seat after the latest proposal took steps forward into the negotiations stage with the league and players union.
Should this proposal come to fruition, teams would play an 82-game season with home games in their home ballparks – assuming local governments allow it. Several rule changes – from a universal designated hitter to realigned divisions – would be installed as well.
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