MLB players free to leave camp, but Tigers decide to stay in Lakeland

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. — It looks like the April 9 starting date for the 2020 baseball season was optimistic.

After Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association talked Thursday night and Friday, it was decided that players could leave camp if they chose. But the vast majority of Tigers players, according to a team source, have decided to remain in Lakeland.

Players who were in minor league camp were expected to head home, per the wishes of the league and players' association. 

Major League Baseball shut down all spring training games on Thursday in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here’s the memo players received Friday from the union:

Matthew Boyd

►1. Players will be permitted to stay in the area of the spring training facility.

►2. Players will be permitted to travel to the club’s home city.

►3. Players will be permitted to travel to their offseason home (or other location).

More: Tigers 'ad-libbing' as start of MLB season delayed at least two weeks

Formal workouts are not allowed, but it is expected that coaches, training and medical staffs, as well as the nutrition staff, will also remain at TigerTown and be available to players who want to stay and train.

The Tigers players, staff and front office, including general manager Al Avila, met Friday night, with the majority of players agreeing to stay in camp. Being able to use the facility at TigerTown, with the doctors and trainers right there, probably seemed safer and more conducive to staying with their routines.

It is unclear whether the media will be granted any access to players. 

Giving players the freedom to leave camp, though, was an indication that both the league and the union expect a more lengthy delay to the start of the season, one perhaps measured in months, not weeks.

Twitter: @cmccosky