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Uncertainty and concern abound for Yankees as MLB schedule remains in question

Yankees GM Brian Cashman, left, and manager Aaron

Yankees GM Brian Cashman, left, and manager Aaron Boone prior to a spring training game against the Washington Nationals on March 12, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla.  Credit: AP/Julio Cortez

TAMPA, Fla. – Brett Gardner had a “gone fishing” sign up on Wednesday and planned to do the same after his morning workout on Thursday.

The Yankees outfielder didn’t find out about the fast-moving sports postponements and cancellations due to the coronavirus outbreak until after he stepped onto dry land.

“I was fishing until about 5,” Gardner said. “I didn’t follow it until I got done fishing. Just trying to catch up on it once I got off the water and talked to some people and kind of get up to speed on things. I feel pretty safe on the water on my boat by myself.”

As of noon on Thursday, Major League Baseball had not joined the NBA, NHL, MLS, NCAA and others in either pausing its seasons or planning to play games in front of no fans.

General manager Brian Cashman, in West Palm Beach, Fla., for the Yankees’ scheduled 1 p.m. spring training game against the Nationals, told reporters, according to WFAN: “As of right now everything that is on the schedule is still on the schedule.”

The Yankees are scheduled to host the Tigers on Friday night at Steinbrenner Field. Fans have continued to pack spring training stadiums despite the coronavirus fears that are sweeping the nation.

The Yankees are still scheduled to play the Blue Jays in two exhibition games in Montreal before opening the regular season in Baltimore on March 26.

But everything is in flux. Everything is changing by the day, by the hour, by the minute. MLB could keep everything the way it is. It could cancel spring training games or play them in empty stadiums. It could delay the start of the regular season.

“We’re wondering what’s going to happen, too,” Masahiro Tanaka said through his translator.

The biggest jolt through the sports world was the NBA suspending its season on Wednesday night after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole said he didn’t learn of the NBA’s move until he woke up to go to work on Thursday morning.

"It’s difficult I think for everybody,” Cole said. “Everybody’s concerned about it. There’s a lot of uncertainty, uncomfortability for loved ones, especially the elderly. It’s one of those things that comes around every so often where we have to come together as a country and kind of rally against it. So regardless of baseball, I think, everybody’s kind of feeling the same way.”

Aaron Judge, who is injured and will miss Opening Day, joked that he wouldn’t mind it if MLB postponed the start of the season so he can catch up.

“It’s tough,” said Judge, who is on the mend from a fractured rib. “There are talks about playing without fans in stadiums, stuff like that. You want to go out there and play, but you feed off the fans’ energy, you feed off that excitement and what they bring to the game each and every night. I think it’s going to have a big impact on our game. I know they’ve talked about different things, either playing without fans or suspending it or delaying it. We’ll see what happens. I’m not too sure what’s going to happen.”

New York Sports