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MLB monitors coronavirus as leagues in Japan and South Korea take action

A man wearing a face mask walks past the Tokyo Dome, where baseball games will no longer be played in front of crowds because of coronavirus fears.
A man walks past the Tokyo Dome, where exhibition baseball games this season won’t be played in front of crowds because of coronavirus fears.
(Carl Court / Getty Images)

Catch a spring training game? That won’t be possible in two top Asian leagues, as authorities around the world respond to the spread of the coronavirus.

In Japan, exhibition games will no longer be open to fans, and teams will play in empty ballparks. In South Korea, exhibition games have been called off entirely.

Neither the Japanese nor the South Korean league has committed to start its regular season on time — March 20 in Japan, March 28 in South Korea.

Major League Baseball is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation, consulting with the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dept. of Health and Human Services and providing recommendations from the CDC to players and teams.

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The Angels shut down Griffin Canning last summer because of elbow soreness. After his first appearance this spring, the soreness has returned.

It is unclear if the league has made contingency plans in the event the coronavirus develops into a public health emergency in the United States and forces the postponement of games. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the league halted play until Sept. 17 and made up the postponed games after the scheduled end of the regular season.

The coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people in about three dozen countries since it was discovered in December. More than 2,700 have died, most of them in mainland China.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people have been diagnosed with the virus in the state, with more than 8,000 additional people under observation.


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