The Blue Jays appear set to resume training camp at Toronto’s Rogers Centre after arriving in the Ontario capital on Sunday night from the team’s spring training home of Dunedin, Fla.
Canada’s lone Major League Baseball team received special permission from government and health authorities last week to train at the downtown stadium.
Players and team staff will isolate from the general public in a closed environment at Rogers Centre and the hotel attached to the venue.
The Blue Jays have yet to release specifics on when training sessions will begin at the dome, which was not open to media on Monday.
Reports say a 60-game regular-season schedule, set to begin July 23 or 24, will be unveiled Monday evening.
WATCH | Rogers Centre will host Blue Jays summer camp:
Players who have been cleared with two negative COVID tests have already been training in Dunedin.
Those who don’t make the initial 30-man roster for the season will continue training in Buffalo, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said, though he added that the team is still finalizing those plans.
Teams expected to carry extra pitchers
Without minor-league games, ensuring players get their reps seems like a difficult task.
But Atkins says the Blue Jays are “going to be creative as we possibly can” with developing their young players in an environment lacking any real competitiveness.
“We’ve already talked a lot about how we can create the best development opportunities while having guys primed to help our major-league team,” he said. “And then beyond that, we’ll continue to do the things we have been doing and putting guys in positions to continue to think about baseball in a different way and think about their development in different way.”
Atkins expects most MLB teams to carry a large number of pitchers on their rosters, especially early in the season, as they continue to build their arms back up after a significant layoff.
He says he’s happy with where Toronto’s starting pitchers are at now, with some getting up to four innings of simulated-game practice lately, but added that the team will likely have to ease them into game speed.
National cancel workouts
The defending World Series champion Nationals cancelled their workout Monday because of COVID-19 testing delays that general manager Mike Rizzo worried could endanger the baseball season.
All players and staff were tested Friday, and Rizzo said the team still hasn’t received those results. The cancellation came a day after all-star reliever Sean Doolittle voiced concerns about the slow turnaround on coronavirus tests and the Nationals not receiving some kinds of personal protective equipment.
“We cannot have our players and staff work at risk,” Rizzo said. “We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families. Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with summer camp.”