2:49pm: The league is providing players with three options, per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post (Twitter links). They can go to their personal homes, which is the apparent preference of the league, though there’s a warning there for players who reside in other countries owing to potential travel restrictions. Players can instead remain in camp facilities and continue to receive living allowances. Or they may go to the home city of their particular club.
2:32pm: Major League Baseball, which is holding ongoing discussions with the players’ association even now, has advised players to leave Spring Training facilities for their homes. Jon Heyman of MLB Network first tweeted the news; multiple other reports have emerged indicating that players have been encouraged by their respective teams to depart.
This reverses the general direction of expectations from earlier in the day. Multiple team leaders had indicated to reporters that they expected to keep players at their spring facilities for at least the foreseeable several days. Even with spring contests scratched, there was evidently some thought given to keeping players around to continue training.
Precisely what precipitated this approach isn’t yet known, but it surely did not make much sense to keep players gathered if a lengthy delay is inevitable. Maintaining the health and safety of players and employees is surely the top priority as the league seeks to play its part in stemming the spread of the coronavirus.
There is an obvious desire not to delay the start of the upcoming season longer than necessary. To this point, the league has not formally announced an expansion of its previously announced two-week delay. But fully breaking up spring camp makes that a mere formality.
Both major and minor-league players will be sent out of team facilities. Just when they will return is anyone’s guess, but it seems clear at this point that some kind of additional spring training ramp-up will be required before the 2020 season gets underway.