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Nats/Astros spring camp closed, will be used for drive-up coronavirus testing

FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches

FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches has been totally shut down and players sent away, as the Florida National Guard is setting up drive-up coronavirus testing in one of the complex’s parking lots.

The move was mandated by Palm Beach County, which is allowed to take control of the complex by the lease involving the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. When MLB ordered home non-roster players from spring-training camps and eliminated team workouts under a March 15 directive, some players and front-office personnel were allowed to continue loose workouts at the spring camps. However, with this move by Palm Beach County, players and front-office personnel were asked to stay away from FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. From MASN:

“The location that is being utilized is far removed from all human contact that would be with players,” [Nationals general manager Mike] Rizzo said. “But we felt that in an abundance of safety and precaution, we decided to lock down the facility, even for the players that were in rehabilitation mode.”

Thirteen players, most of them already offseason residents of the area, remained in West Palm Beach to use the complex for unorganized workouts and medical and physical training. They’re now left to do that on their own at home, though there are a couple of players rehabbing from injuries who will be allowed to get treatment at a still-to-be-determined off-site location.

“It’s a very, very small list, and obviously the injuries a long time ago,” Rizzo said. “It’s not something that’s of essential importance, and obviously the safety and the health of all the staff and all the players is paramount.”

Like every other MLB and MiLB team, the Nats exist in a state of suspended animation, not knowing when the regular season will launch. With the U.S. government extended social-distancing recommendations until April 30, we expect more leagues across the board to announce potential further delays in the start of the season.

With hourly news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we’re launching a new Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge. Sign up here.

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