MLB limits spring autographs amid coronavirus outbreak

Oakland Athletics' Sean Murphy hands a pen back to Carter Legary, 8, of Tacoma, Wash., after signing the child's baseball Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Published:
Updated:

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (TEGNA/AP) — Baseball teams are taking extra precautions at spring training complexes amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Giants, Nationals, A's and other teams are taking Major League Baseball's recommendation and pre-signing cards and baseballs to hand out to fans, cutting down on interactions around the ballpark.

At the Giants' complex in Scottsdale, Arizona, stadium personnel disinfected railings shortly before fans arrived for an afternoon game against the White Sox, and the team is spending extra time sanitizing around the clubhouse and other facilities.

Players say precautions haven't had much effect yet on their plans and routines, but they're aware the situation is changing quickly.

In a statement, the Washington Nationals said its players will avoid shaking hands, and the team is "making some changes to the way the we approach autographs at Spring Training."


RELATED: Coronavirus live updates: Cruise ship hit by virus to dock in Oakland, California

RELATED: Official: White House didn't want to tell seniors not to fly

The Associated Press reported that MLB sent a memo to teams over a week ago sharing recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control aimed at stemming the virus outbreak.

Yahoo Sports' Hannah Keyser claimed the MLB's went even further and limited access to media members who have visited high-risk areas:

“We are undertaking many precautions currently. For example, we are asking anyone - including media - who has visited a high-risk area, as defined by the CDC, within the last 14 days not to visit our facilities.

We are also discussing additional measures internally and with other Leagues. At this time, we have not made changes to our media access procedures, and we will advise if we determine to take such steps.”

The Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches also released a health update about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.