TAMPA, Fla. — Everything is subject to change.
And it typically has changed, in very short order — often in a matter of minutes and/or and hours — during the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world.
Take the Yankees, for example, as just a tiny sliver of that.
It is still less than a week ago that Yankees players on the 40-man roster voted unanimously (the vote occurred last Friday morning) to stay in Tampa and work out, informally, in an attempt to stay sharp as the crisis played itself out.
But that lasted about two days before the harsh reality of the situation —basically that no one has any clue as to when any form of spring training or regular season can begin — set in.
And so, an exodus of players from Steinbrenner Field began Sunday afternoon and, after a scheduled off day for them Monday, that continued en masse Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning, an estimated 12 players, a group that included Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, Tyler Wade, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, DJ LeMahieu and Clint Frazier, were at Steinbrenner Field. At this point, though there’s some exceptions, the remaining players and coaches are local, having houses or apartments nearby.
As he left the facility just after noon, hitting coach Marcus Thames said Stanton, Wade, LeMahieu and Frazier took batting practice.
“We did both,” Thames said of hitting indoors and outside on the main field.
Precautions, however, are being taken, particularly given the events of the last few days when the Yankees had two minor leaguers test positive for the virus.
The first test came back positive Saturday and the second player, who was not a roommate of the first player, tested positive Monday. The Yankees at this point are the only team in Major League Baseball to have any players in their system test positive for coronavirus.
All Yankees minor leaguers are under self-quarantined, as is much of the player development staff. The team’s minor-league complex, located 1.1 miles away from Steinbrenner Field, will be closed until at least March 25. Minor leaguers are receiving a stipend and three meals a day and are not limited to that if they need or desire more food.
“It’s concerning,” Thames said of the second positive test within the organization. “Always want them to stay healthy, especially with what’s going on, so you try to stay away from people as much as you can. It’s hard because of the industry that we’re in.”
Much of the coaching staff have departed — including manager Aaron Boone, who left by car for his home in Greenwich, Conn. early Tuesday afternoon — but Thames said he’ll be, for now, a presence at Steinbrenner Field.
“I live here,” Thames said of the Tampa area. “Try to help them out as much as we can.”
Among the precautions taken in recent days is Thames, and any other coach throwing batting practice, wearing batting gloves and latex gloves.
“Have to wear gloves,” Thames said. “It’s weird. Trying to stay safe.”
Stanton, who went down with a Grade 1 calf strain Feb. 26, continues to progress in his recovery. Progressing to what end, of course, no one knows. Or can know.
“He looks good,” Thames said of Stanton. “He did some stuff inside and then we took a couple of rounds on the field, trying to space ourselves out, not touch the balls and all kinds of stuff.”