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Dodgers

Dodgers and Angels restrict scouts from air travel because of coronavirus

Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers Gavin Lux (9), Cody Bellinger (35) and Max Muncy (13) walk onto the field before a Cactus League game against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch on Feb. 24.
(Ralph Freso / Getty Images)

In response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Angels and Dodgers joined the ranks of major league teams that have restricted the operations of their scouting departments.

Matt Swanson, the Angels’ director of scouting, said Thursday that staff members are no longer taking flights. Scouts are allowed to drive to games in their regions.

The Dodgers also suspended air travel for their scouts.

“Given the circumstances and uncertainty, I think it’s the wisest move,” Swanson said from Texas, where he was preparing for a scouting trip to Houston. “We’re just trying to do as good a job as we can and maintain as much of a status quo as we can. Uncharted territory, to say the least.”

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Major League Baseball announced that spring training would be suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Starting the regular season on time is questionable.

It is the busiest time of year for scouts evaluating amateur players. They spend the spring scouting high school and college players in preparation for the upcoming June draft. National crosscheckers from all teams often converge on the same large-scale tournaments.

Whether they can complete their assignments in a timely manner has come into question. Several major college conferences decided Thursday to postpone all athletic events, some indefinitely. Locally, Studio City Harvard-Westlake High School halted its sports program after a parent in the community tested positive for the coronavirus.

It is entirely possible other schools will follow suit.

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“I feel like there’s been so much change every hour,” Swanson said. “This is definitely the stuff you’re not prepared for when you take this job. But the scouting world is kind of small and insignificant compared to the major league team and how it affects them and all their moving parts.

“I have a lot of empathy for all those people involved because that’s not an easy thing.”

Times staff writer Jorge Castillo contributed to this report.


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