Even as some teams reopen their Florida spring-training facilities to a larger gathering of players, the Phillies are keeping their complex closed except for the small group of mostly rehabbing players that have been working out there since baseball’s hiatus began in mid-March.
It’s possible the Phillies would reopen the Carpenter Complex if Major League Baseball and the Players Association reach an agreement to play a 2020 season. Then again, a source said Saturday that it’s “more likely” the team would convene a potential “Spring Training 2.0” in Philadelphia rather than in Clearwater, Fla.
Nothing is definitive, of course, especially since the league and the union have not yet finalized terms of what a spring-training continuation might look like. In a 67-page health and safety manual that was presented to the players last week, MLB proposed 50-player camps for each team that would be subdivided at the outset to allow smaller groups of players to work out at staggered times throughout the day.
The Phillies could make use of not only Citizens Bank Park but also two outdoor fields at a team-owned youth academy at FDR Park.
MLB’s plan — assuming it isn’t revised and receives approval from players, medical experts, and government officials — would allow teams to decide where to resume spring training. The New York Mets and New York Yankees reportedly favor returning to their Florida sites. But with 50 players in each camp, teams could get ready for the season by holding intrasquad scrimmages rather than taking buses to play exhibition games against rival clubs.
For the last two months, the Clearwater facility has been used by a small group of Phillies players who must adhere to the health and safety protocols outlined in March by MLB. Left fielder Andrew McCutchen and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Hunter are coming back from surgery last year. A few others, such as Aaron Nola and J.T. Realmuto, chose to stay in the Clearwater area after spring training was postponed.
But MLB hasn’t allowed teams to hold organized group workouts. Until that changes, the Phillies don’t plan to open their facility.
The Miami Marlins allowed players on the 40-man roster to have access to their Jupiter, Fla., facility last week. The Yankees have allowed players to work out at their Tampa facility, according to Newsday, while the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Rays intend to open Tropicana Field to players on Monday.
NBC Sports Philadelphia was first to report details of the Phillies’ likelihood of staging a potential spring-training resumption in Philadelphia.