NEW YORK (AFP) -- A New York Yankees minor league player has tested positive for the coronavirus the team said Sunday, the first known case in baseball.
The team did not identify the player in accordance with US medical privacy regulations, but said he was never present at the Florida spring training facility used by the Yankees' major league team and did not have known contact with any of the Yankees players.
"He was never here, nor anybody who would be linked to being with him," Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said.
Yankees minor leaguers train at a player development complex adjacent to gut separate from the major league complex in Tampa, Florida.
MLB has already announced it was pushing back the scheduled March 26 start of the season at least two weeks in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
They cancelled all spring training games, however, teams were deciding individually whether to continue with informal practices at their pre-season facilities.
On Friday players on teams' 40-man rosters were told they could choose to stay at their team's training facility, travel to their team's home city or go to their off-season homes.
Yankees players had voted to stay in Florida and train.
The Los Angeles Times reported that MLB sent a memo to its 30 clubs on Sunday "strongly discouraging" group workouts and emphasizing social distancing to curtail the spread of COVID-19."
According to the newspaper the recommendations were issued after the minor league player tested positive.
The Times reported that the player was tested after he notified the club he had a fever on Friday morning.
Texas Rangers players, who had also opted to stay at their spring training base in Arizona for a week, began packing up to leave on Sunday after clubs received the memo.
"Some guys are going home, some guys are going to Dallas and some people that live here are staying here," right fielder Joey Gallo told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I don't know what workouts are going to be yet. It's pretty much just like the offseason now." (AFP)