Blue Jays expect to play as other MLB teams cancel, relocate games

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Fans arrive at the Rogers Centre for a Toronto Blue Jays game. (Fran Gunn/CP)

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Around baseball, the COVID-19 outbreak has already led to cancelled and relocated games as MLB teams work with public health authorities and governments to limit the spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants announced the cancellation of an upcoming exhibition game against the Athletics that was scheduled to take place March 24. The Seattle Mariners, meanwhile, are searching for another site for their first two home series after Washington governor Jay Inslee announced he’s banning large group events through March.

As the virus spreads globally and concern grows, baseball schedules clearly have the potential to change quickly. With that ever-important caveat in mind, the Toronto Blue Jays are not currently expecting any changes to their scheduled exhibition and regular-season games.

Speaking to the media from within a roped-off area at the team’s spring training stadium Wednesday, general manager Ross Atkins was asked whether the Blue Jays have talked about playing regular-season games anywhere other than Rogers Centre.

"We have not," Atkins replied. "Conceptually, as you do, you think about ideas and things that could occur, but no more than that. We are not coming up with contingency plans that specific on something as drastic as that measure."

The Blue Jays’ spring schedule continues progressing as expected, and the club’s upcoming exhibition games against the Yankees in Montreal appear to be safe – at least for the moment. However, the world figure skating championships, which were set to begin in Montreal next week, have been cancelled.

If the virus continues to spread, upcoming games could conceivably be played in empty stadiums – a possibility that manager Charlie Montoyo would prefer to avoid.

“I hope we don’t get to that point, but as of right now we’re following whatever (MLB is) saying,” he said.

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