There’s still a ton of hurdles to overcome, but we’re one step closer to the return of Mariners baseball.
Per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has confirmed that the team is making preparations to reopen its Spring Training facility in Peoria, Arizona early next week. This would allow the team to hold voluntary individual and small group workouts with players and team staff.
This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise since the state of Arizona eased restrictions on professional sports on May 16. However, the Mariners are the first reported Arizona-based Spring Training team to move forward with its plans to resume play. Meanwhile, in Florida, the Cardinals, Marlins, and Rays have reopened their respective facilities.
There’s been no word on whether or not the Padres, who share the Peoria Sports Complex with the Mariners, will follow suit and organize their own set of workouts as well.
As Divish explains, no Mariners players have been asked to return. Simply, the option to workout in Peoria will be made available to them if they wish to do so. But these workouts will be heavily condensed and monitored to follow social distancing guidelines.
This also shouldn’t be taken as any indication of a return to actual games being played. There are still several questions surrounding standardized testing and the general safety of players that need to be answered, the MLBPA has yet to approve of Major League Baseball’s plan to return, and, of course, there is the dispute between the two parties over further potential pay cuts and revenue sharing.
At most, these are the wheels starting to kick in motion, but at a very slow pace. Still, it’s an encouraging sign overall in terms of the progress being made in overcoming the pandemic and returning to some form of normalcy in North America while the world awaits a more permanent solution.