Major League Baseball said Monday it will delay the start of the 2020 season further than initially anticipated in order to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
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“Following last night’s newly updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, the opening of the 2020 regular season will be pushed back in accordance with that guidance,” MLB said in a statement. “MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead.”
As the coronavirus outbreak has escalated, major U.S. sports leagues have shut down in recent days. Last week, MLB officials suspended all spring training activities and said opening day would be delayed for at least two weeks.
That decision came hours after Rudy Gobert of the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated the suspension of the league’s season would continue for at least 30 days.
An unidentified player in the New York Yankees minor league system tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, marking the first known instance of a pro baseball player contracting the illness.
“The Clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins,” MLB added in the statement. “We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge all baseball fans to follow suit.”
It’s unclear when the 2020 MLB season will get underway. Earlier Monday, MLB and the MLB Players Association donated a combined $1 million to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America to feed the hungry during the outbreak.