The Seattle Mariners have told players to enter offseason mode after closing their spring training complex amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The start of the MLB season has been pushed back due to COVID-19 – Opening Day was originally scheduled for March 26 and it had already been postponed before a further delay.

Seattle had planned to keep their Arizona facility open, but the Mariners decided to shut down spring training operations due to dwindling numbers.

"Frankly, we were concerned about group gatherings of any sort, particularly after we got news of a positive test from a baseball staffer from another club," said Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto.

"Right now, as we expressed to them starting last week, our primary concern isn't preparing for baseball season It's making sure we stay as healthy as we can and that we're doing our part in a public health crisis to not spread this thing any further than it already has or will.

"Many of our guys can't access gyms. We've built moderate throwing programs and told guys to go into offseason mode psychologically and emotionally and understand when we get back, you will have time. We're not going to ask guys to go from zero to 60 without time to ramp up."

Coronavirus continues to disrupt sport across the globe as countries try to contain COVID-19.

Globally, more than 10,000 people have died from almost 245,000 cases.

There have been over 205 deaths in the United States, with at least 13,700 cases.

Coronavirus continued to make its presence felt across worldwide elite sport on Wednesday.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic and major American sports franchises were taking appropriate measures as European football was forced to react once more.

Sports governing bodies have also had their say, with events calendars becoming increasingly fluid.

Here are some of the latest events to be impacted.

In the United States the Golden State Warriors have confirmed their game against Brooklyn Nets on Thursday will be played behind closed doors, making them the first NBA team to make such a move following consultation with the City and County of San Francisco.

This directive also means the San Francisco Giants is working with Major League Baseball to make alternative arrangements after the planned March 24 exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics at Oracle Park was cancelled.

Seattle Mariners are hoping to relocate their opening games of the MLB regular season after Washington governor Jay Inslee announced large group events in the state would be banned throughout March.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will stage its flagship March Madness basketball tournament "with only essential staff and limited family attendance".

Coronavirus cases in Spain have spiked, and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has postponed the Copa del Rey final between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.

The showpiece fixture was due to take place in Seville on April, with reports suggesting May 30 has been pencilled as a new date.

Barcelona have cancelled training sessions at their La Masia headquarters for the next 15 days, while RFEF has recommended football at all levels beneath the top two professional leagues is called off for two weeks.

In Germany, Eintracht Frankfurt announced Thursday's Europa League game against Basel will take place behind closed doors, while this weekend's derby between Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin will also take place without supporters.

Mainz's clash with Cologne is another of the forthcoming Bundesliga games where fans have been told to stay away.

The Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal became the first football match in England to be postponed as a coronavirus precaution and City are offering refunds on tickets to future fixtures up to and including the day of the game, acknowledging unease among supporters over taking part in large gatherings at this time.

Pep Guardiola's side have matches at home to Burnley and Real Madrid over the coming week.

CONMEBOL, the governing body for football in South America announced Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana matches held in Paraguay will take place behind closed doors, in line with local government advice.

Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup, will stage all remaining matches in its domestic football season without supporters, although CAF has decided to maintain its competition schedule unless the WHO declares a country in Africa to be high risk.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has postponed the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest after Hungary's government prohibited public indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

On their tour of Sri Lanka, the England cricket team have been told to avoid casual interaction with fans, such as selfies and autographs.

Seattle Mariners are hoping to relocate their opening home games of the Major League Baseball regular season.

As fears over the spread of coronavirus continue to grow across the globe, Washington governor Jay Inslee announced on Wednesday that large group events would be banned in the state throughout March.

This has placed the Mariners first two home matches of the campaign – against the Texas Rangers and the Minnesota Twins – into doubt, with both games scheduled to take place in the final week of the month.

However, the Mariners have confirmed they are working alongside MLB to come up with alternative locations for the contests to take place.

"While we hope to be back to playing baseball in Seattle as soon as possible, the health and safety of our community is the most important consideration," a statement on their official website read.

On Wednesday, the mayor of San Francisco – London Breed – announced any gatherings of 1,000 or more people would be prohibited for the next two weeks, with the San Francisco Giants subsequently confirming the cancellation of a planned exhibition match against the Oakland Athletics at Oracle Park on March 24.

The spread of coronavirus has now been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, with just under 700 confirmed cases in the United States.

Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado and Boston Red Sox sensation Mookie Betts highlighted the 2019 Gold Glove Award winners.

MLB announced the winners on Sunday and there were several first-time winners, including Lorenzo Cain of the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger.

The list of winners features the St Louis Cardinals' Kolten Wong, Cleveland Indians star Francisco Lindor, JT Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo.

Cleveland and the Oakland Athletics lead the American League with two winners each, while the Arizona Diamondbacks boast three winners in the National League.

Houston Astros ace Zack Greinke and Arizona's Mike Leake each won the award at their respective positions despite being traded to the AL and NL at the deadline in July.

The awards are determined by a vote among managers and coaches, and since 2013, a 25 per cent calculation is based on defensive metrics. 

 

MLB 2019 Gold Glove Winners

American League

1B Matt Olson, Athletics
2B Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox
3B Matt Chapman, Athletics
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
LF Alex Gordon, Royals
CF Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
RF Mookie Bett, Red Sox
C Roberto Perez, Indians
P Mike Leake, Mariners/Diamondbacks

National League

1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B Kolten Wong, Cardinals
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
SS Nick Ahmed, Diamondbacks
LF David Peralta, Diamondbacks
CF Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
RF Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
C JT Realmuto, Phillies
P Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks

The Nationals now have a crucial advantage in the National League wild-card game following their 10-7 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Saturday's victory against the already-eliminated Indians, the Nationals will host the MLB playoff contest at the beginning of October.

Gerardo Parra hit a grand slam in a whopping nine-run second inning to highlight the triumph, which is Washington's seventh consecutive win.

"I don't have to go home and pack," manager Dave Martinez said after the game, via ESPN. "Nice to stay at home. The boys wanted to stay at home, so they came out and swung the bats."

Nationals star Parra finished two of four for the night, along with Ryan Zimmerman, while Daniel Hudson earned the win after pitching one hitless inning.

 

Mets rookie Alonso sets record

Pete Alonso hit his 53rd home run on Saturday, which is more than any rookie in MLB history – surpassing Aaron Judge's record set in 2017. The New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0.

Houston Astros star Justin Verlander struck out his 3,000th batter to become just the 18th pitcher to reach the milestone.

Hyun-jin Ryu pitched seven solid innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed their 105th win. He allowed five hits while striking out seven in the 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

 

Rays struggle against Jays

The Tampa Bay Rays recorded only three hits in a 4-1 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays had seven starters lay goose eggs, including Austin Meadows, Jesus Aguilar and Nate Lowe, who all went 0 for four.

Edwin Jackson gave up three runs on four hits in just three innings of work in the Detroit Tigers' 7-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Detroit split the doubleheader after a 4-3 victory.

 

Soler homers… again

What else do you expect from Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Soler? (P.S. This was his second home run of the game.)

Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar has power and speed.

 

Saturday's results

Baltimore Orioles 9-4 Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox 7-1 Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Washington Nationals 10-7 Cleveland Indians
Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies 9-3 Miami Marlins
New York Mets 3-0 Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs 8-6 St Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers 9-4 New York Yankees
Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Houston Astros 6-3 Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics 1-0 Seattle Mariners
Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Brewers at Rockies

Sunday marks the last day of the regular season and there is a lot at stake. One of the biggest games will be a must-win contest for the Brewers. They trail the Cardinals by one game after losing on Saturday. A Brewers win along with a Cardinals loss will put the two teams in a tie for first place in the NL Central, which would force Game 163. That is not all. The Rays are hoping for a win of their own, and an A's loss, to force a tie-breaker to decide who gets home-field advantage for the American League wild-card game.

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