The Toronto Blue Jays resumed summer training camp at Rogers Centre on Tuesday with a pair of workout sessions that came amid the continued uncertainty about the team’s present and future plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Few details were available as a planned conference call with manager Charlie Montoyo was pushed to Wednesday and media access to the stadium was postponed a day until Thursday.
Social media did provide a glimpse into the stadium as a photo of the empty ballpark with roof open was posted on the Blue Jays’ Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon, complete with a “Home Sweet Home” caption and a pair of emojis.
Players arrived in town Sunday night via team charter from Dunedin, Fla., and began working out a day later. The Blue Jays’ 60-game schedule was released Monday evening but the team still doesn’t know where it will play home games this season.
The team has expressed its desire to play at Rogers Centre but as was required for training camp, approval would be needed from the government and health authorities.
There was no word on when a decision might be made. The Public Health Agency of Canada did not immediately return a message and Ontario sports and culture minister Lisa MacLeod did not provide a timeline in an emailed reply.
Most clubs are expected to play in their home stadiums this season, but Toronto faces an additional hurdle because of border and quarantine rules during the pandemic. During training camp, players and team staff are isolating from the general public in a closed environment at the stadium and hotel attached to the venue.
The Blue Jays have also declined comment on recent positive COVID-19 tests that have impacted the team.
Multiple players and staffers tested positive last month and a USA Today report on Monday said that 12 players had to remain in Florida after another Blue Jays player tested positive.
Players need to be cleared with two negative COVID-19 tests to join training camp. A team spokesman would not confirm how many players were in Toronto, but said a second charter flight was expected to arrive later this week.
The Blue Jays are scheduled to open their regular season July 24 on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays. Toronto’s first home game is set for July 29 against the Washington Nationals.
If Rogers Centre is ruled out, the team has said it would likely shift focus to TD Ballpark in Dunedin. However, that has become an increasingly undesirable option given the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida.
The state reported 7,347 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Ontario, meanwhile, reported 112 new cases.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.
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© 2020 The Canadian Press