Yankees discussing holding Spring Training II at Yankee Stadium, sources say
The Yankees remain likely to hold spring training in Tampa should MLB and the Players Association eventually reach a deal on resuming the season.
But the rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida has spurred the club to, at least behind the scenes, discuss the topic of holding Spring Training II at Yankee Stadium, according to multiple sources.
The Yankees for weeks had been steadfast in maintaining they would hold spring training in Tampa, their spring home since 1996 and longtime home base of the Steinbrenner family.
Tampa not only has spacious Steinbrenner Field and its four fields for workouts but also, less than a mile away, there is the club’s minor league complex that has an additional four fields. The eight combined fields, obviously, would make the required social distancing protocols easier to abide by for players and staff.
For that reason, and others, insiders stressed on Thursday that Tampa is still the highly probable location for a second Yankees spring training. However, the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, impossible to ignore, prompted the subject of going to Yankee Stadium to be raised.
Thursday morning, the Florida Department of Health reported a record 3,207 new cases, breaking the previous record of 2,783, set only on Tuesday. New York, by contrast, has gone from being the unquestioned epicenter of the virus in the U.S. to seeing, for weeks now, a steady decline in its COVID-19 numbers.
Additionally, some voices in the organization have raised logistical concerns. Among the most significant of those concerns: reconvening, in the midst of a pandemic, all players and staff in Tampa for a three-week spring training, then transporting them to New York for the quick turnaround into the regular season, whatever form it takes.
There is a small set of Yankees that have been working out at Steinbrenner Field consistently since Florida’s stay-at-home order was lifted May 4, a group that includes Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Tyler Wade, Gleyber Torres and J.A. Happ. That number has slowly increased of late, with Aaron Hicks, almost fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, among the group of newcomers.