Major League Baseball announced the start of the regular season will be pushed back even further following a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The news comes a day after a Yankees minor leaguer became the first professional baseball player to test positive for the coronavirus.
We won’t be seeing Yankees baseball until mid-May at the earliest following Monday’s announcement but that looks like wishful thinking. The coronavirus continues to spread across the country and worldwide at a rapid pace so there’s really no telling when we might see Major League baseball resume operations.
It was only a matter of time before one player tested positive for the virus and unfortunately it’s doubtful that he will be the last. This is an unprecedented situation that is probably going to get worse before it gets better so all we can do right now is wait and stay at home by practicing social distancing. The Yankees and all the other major league franchises will do the same because it’s just not safe to continue using the spring training facilities and working out together as a team.
Over the weekend I wrote about how injured Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton might not end up missing Opening Day after all. Now we might be able to say the same about left-hander James Paxton.
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Paxton underwent back surgery on February 5th and was expected to be out for three to four months. Last week he resumed throwing for the first time since the surgery and after the session, he told reporters he was hopeful to return from the IL by mid-May. He said that was the best-case scenario so whenever the season does end up beginning it seems like there’s a good chance his back will be all healed up.
Now whether or not he’ll be ready to pitch in a major league game is hard to predict because we still don’t know what the plan is once the MLB has clearance to resume operations. Will they resume spring training and play the rest of the exhibition schedule? If not, how much time will all the players have to prepare as a team for the start of the regular season?
Injured players like Paxton, Judge and Stanton should all have plenty of time during this down period to get healthy but once they’re cleared to return to game action they’ll all basically need a full spring training of reps. So until we know when they’ll be able to start getting those reps it’s really impossible to know if they’ll all be ready to play once the season begins.