Five unidentified Philadelphia Phillies players and three staff members working at the team's spring training facility have tested positive for the coronavirus, the team confirmed on Friday.
According to the Phillies, the first confirmed case occurred Tuesday and the team has since closed its training complex in Clearwater, Florida. The club also announced that eight staff members' tests have come back negative and 32 members of the organisation (20 players, 12 staff members) are in the process of undergoing testing.
NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that none of the eight infected have been hospitalised.
"The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of those confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected," Phillies managing partner John Middleton said in a statement.
The news comes at a time when Major League Baseball had been hoping to re-open training camps later this month to prepare for a potential season that would start in mid-to-late July, provided the owners and players are able to come to an agreement on a schedule and pay structure.
A recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Florida may also affect those plans, as half of MLB's 30 teams have their spring training complexes located in the state.