The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the sports world.
Among the latest teams hit?
Four members of the organization recently tested positive for COVID-19, sources confirmed Saturday afternoon. The team conducted widespread testing in Tampa on Friday, so more positive tests can’t be ruled out.
The four who tested positive have not been identified, either by name or job. A source said the two connected to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa — where much of the team hierarchy works, including managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner — are not players. The other two positive tests involve individuals more associated with the minor-league complex, which is located less than a mile away from Steinbrenner Field. It was unclear if those two are players or non-uniformed personnel.
It is commonplace for some Yankees staff members and players to shuttle back and forth between the two locations.
“It’s [expletive] scary down here right now,” one Tampa-based staff member said via text, citing the exploding COVID-19 numbers across the state.
Those rapidly rising numbers in Florida and Arizona are the biggest reason that big-league clubs, including the Yankees and Mets, will be holding spring training in the ballparks in their home cities (contingent, of course, on MLB and the Players Association coming to some kind of agreement).
Florida continues to set one-day records for new coronavirus cases, including on Friday, when it reported just over 4,000 cases. In addition, 28% of the state’s cases have come in the last 10 days, according to the Florida Department of Health. Among the areas of the state seeing the biggest increase in cases is Hillsborough County, where the Yankees train.
There has been an explosion of positive COVID-19 cases involving sports teams — college and professional — in recent days, including plenty from MLB.
MLB closed all facilities in Florida and Arizona for extensive cleaning and disinfecting after eight members of the Phillies' organization tested positive Friday. The Blue Jays administered a slew of tests after one of their players displayed symptoms of the virus. The Rangers and Giants, who train in Arizona, shuttered their facilities earlier in the week after positive tests.
Before Steinbrenner Field was closed Friday, the Yankees had approximately 15 players who had been working out there three days a week on an informal basis. That group included Aaron Judge, Tyler Wade, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and J.A. Happ.
Two of the Yankees' minor-leaguers tested positive in mid-March.
Mets to pay minor-leaguers. The Mets decided to continue to pay their minor-leaguers a $400 weekly stipend through August, a source said. That is about when the minor-league season would have ended. The MiLB season is almost certain to be canceled, so this is the only pay those players are getting for 2020. — TIM HEALEY