Yankees' Players Vote Unanimously to Remain at Spring Training Facility
The Yankees voted unanimously to stay at the organization's Spring Training facility and continue working out despite Major League Baseball's decision to suspend Spring Training. As first reported by George King of the New York Post, left-hander Zack Britton – Yankees' player representative – revealed the club's logistical decision.
Britton told reporters that all members of the Yankees in attendance at big-league camp met on Friday to discuss the matter at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
In response to Major League Baseball's announcement of the postponement of Opening Day for at least two weeks, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players were given three options. They were permitted to return to their personal homes dispersed across the country, travel back to their franchise's home city or choose to remain near the organization's spring facility.
In New York's clubhouse, the choice was made without dissent.
"Guys want to win. Guys are here to win a World Series," Britton told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman revealed to media that he and the entire Bombers' coaching staff will remain in Tampa as well, set to frequent the club's facility. The training staff will also stay moving forward.
Britton told reporters the Yankees will hold its first informal workout on Saturday.
"For right now, they'll be able to work in the cage, the weight room, the training staff providing service they need," skipper Aaron Boone explained to reporters. "We'll be here to support that. Each and every day is going to be a little bit different as more and more information rolls in."
In regards to player health, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread, Boone reassured that the organization is taking preventative measures. There have already been two cleaning sweeps done at the Bombers' facility and clubhouse – another deep clean could be ordered again in the near future. A bleach-type mist was sprayed through all player areas.
With several players testing positive for COVID-19 across professional sports, there are no concerns of a member of the Yankees currently being contaminated the virus. Starting catcher Gary Sánchez, who was experiencing flu-like symptoms last week, has reportedly improved his condition.
Cashman stressed to reporters that players have every right to choose to go home. Since they collectively elected to stick around, however, they will be able to workout and utilize New York's facility.
"The players have been fantastic," Cashman said to reporters after participating in a conference call with all 30 Major League general managers earlier in the afternoon. "There's no script here that we can all fall back on and rely upon. I think there's a recognition of that there's a lot of unknowns, so there's a lot of really cool conversations about suggestions. There's a lot of collaboration. We've tried to map out the best next steps and we all recognize it's going to take a lot of give and take, with understanding and compassion and empathy along the way."
As players across Major League Baseball make decisions regarding where they plan to spend the next few weeks, the league's initial timetable of Opening Day being pushed back two weeks could be in jeopardy.
For the Yankees, although their workouts won't be the same as they have been this spring and will require an adjustment period to a new structure, this club is set on taking full advantage of any opportunities to get better. Only time will tell, however, how long they'll have to wait until they'll get a chance to play in a game.
“We have a shot at a World Series title," Britton told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. "We want to be prepared to seize that opportunity. Guys aren’t panicking about this thing; we understand that it’s serious, but the Yankees have a ton of resources in the area. We feel like this is a good place for us to be.”
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