The Los Angeles Dodgers, like several teams throughout Major League Baseball, have seen some members of the organization test positive for the coronavirus.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, would not specify whether any of the members were active players, but said none of those positive tests "have resulted in symptoms that have been problematic."
In six days, Dodgers players -- staggered in multiple groups to adhere to social distancing protocol -- will begin reporting for the second version of spring training, a three-week ramp-up for a 60-game regular season that will be played in stadiums without fans. Friedman and his manager, Dave Roberts, hosted a virtual chat with the media Thursday, two days after MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed on a 101-page health-and-safety protocol that laid out baseball's strategy to play through a pandemic that has shown no signs of letting up in the United States.
"Part of the challenge here is there are a lot of unknowns," Friedman said. "I think there's no question we're gonna have a decent number of positive tests in spring training and the season. And to me it's much more about how quick we are to respond to that, the treatment options, the quarantining part of it, making sure it doesn't spread among the group. And to the extent that we can contain it, and we have really good health-and-safety protocols in place, collectively, as a group, everyone working together, I think it's something we can manage.
"But anyone who pretends they can sit here today and tell you exactly how things are gonna play out -- I don't subscribe to that, I don't agree to it. There's a lot we don't know, and a lot of our conversations internally have been about staying on our toes and staying nimble and trying to communicate our way through everything, read and react as things pop up. That's our plan. And as we continue to learn more, we'll get smarter with how we do things."
Friedman can make transactions again beginning at noon ET on Friday and must designate his 60-player pool by 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, with half those players moving to the active roster on Opening Day.
The Dodgers are finalizing a deal that would allow them to utilize USC's baseball field as an alternate training site and might have players work out of their Class A Advanced affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga, California, if classes eventually resume on campus. Dodgers players will officially work out for the first time on July 3, but can do so beforehand so long as they pass their intake screening. Friedman and Roberts still have a multitude of questions about the logistics of maintaining health and safety in a country that has set back-to-back single-day records for coronavirus cases.
When asked to describe his emotions for the start of this season, Roberts said he was "excited but treading lightly and carefully." Soon, he and Friedman will host a virtual conference with players in hopes of addressing their concerns.
"This is a very personal decision and matter," Friedman said when asked about players potentially opting out of this season. "We want people to feel comfortable to bring up if they're concerned or scared or whatever the case may be. We wanna have those conversations with staff and players. We've definitely had conversations with a few player that are concerned, not necessarily rising to the level of opting out but just as we see with people in our own lives who we talk to. They kind of all fall on a continuum and our clubhouse, our staff, our front office is not that different. And so, for the people that are really concerned, we wanna help and be around and try to help with what is a really personal decision."