FAQ: How coronavirus impacts Royals, MLB

March 14th, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- With the decision by Major League Baseball and its clubs to cancel the rest of Spring Training and delay the start of the regular season by at least two weeks because of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, fans certainly have numerous questions.

The Royals are having many internal discussions in an effort to provide answers in the coming days.

Most of the Royals players left the complex early Thursday afternoon, shortly after the scheduled game with the Mariners at Surprise Stadium was canceled.

After meeting with the players on Friday morning, Royals general manager Dayton Moore, manager Mike Matheny and vice president of communications Mike Swanson conducted a conference call with the media.

Here is what we know so far:

When will the season start?
There is no official start date for the season at this time. What we do know is that the start of the season will be delayed at least two weeks. Opening Day had been scheduled for Thursday, March 26.

MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to all 30 clubs in the coming days.

How will the schedule change to accommodate the late start?
According to the release sent by MLB, the league and teams have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular-season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.

What’s going to happen with the rest of Spring Training?
Forthcoming Spring Training games were canceled as of 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, and 2020 World Baseball Classic qualifying games scheduled in Tucson, Ariz., were postponed indefinitely.

What regular-season games will be affected?
The Royals were scheduled to open the season on March 26 at Chicago against the White Sox. The home opener was scheduled for April 2 at Kauffman Stadium.

The earliest the Royals’ season would now start would be April 9, when Kansas City has a four-game set scheduled to begin in Toronto.

What about Minor League Baseball?
Minor League Baseball announced Thursday that the start of the regular season, originally scheduled for April 9, will be delayed indefinitely.

Where will Royals players go?
Following a decision made Friday by MLB and the MLB Players Association, Royals players have the option of remaining in Surprise and using the club’s facilities to continue working out, returning to their club’s home city or returning to their offseason home. In Surprise, players will have access to trainers, food, exercise equipment, etc.

The Royals, though, announced Friday afternoon that there will be no media access to players until MLB decides we get closer to resuming the season. Media members, therefore, were busy on Friday setting up flights home.

Have any Royals players or personnel been tested for coronavirus?
Moore said Friday morning that no one within the organization has been tested for coronavirus or been deemed necessary to be tested.

What should fans do with Spring Training and regular-season tickets?
The Royals advise that all fans with regular-season tickets should hang on to them, and some sort of exchange program will be announced soon. Surprise officials also will be working on a similar arrangement for Spring Training tickets already purchased.

How will this delay affect the Royals once play resumes?
The extra time certainly will help Royals rehabbing from injuries, most notably shortstop , who did not play in any Cactus League games. Mondesi, rehabbing from shoulder surgery, was scheduled to start Thursday’s canceled game. The extra time likely will provide Mondesi with more than enough time to be ready for the regular-season opener, whenever that will be.

Catcher (Tommy John surgery) already was on schedule to be ready for Opening Day, but the pause will give him even more time to be close to 100 percent. Right-hander , a Rule 5 Draft pick, was battling a high ankle sprain and perhaps was a candidate for the injured list. Woods should be healed in time to compete again for a roster spot once play resumes.

What are they saying?
Before Thursday’s news that MLB was suspending operations, Royals super utility man Whit Merrifield said: “Nobody is nervous about getting it. It’s not us contracting that is the concern. It’s spreading it. ...

“We had a meeting with the [team] doctor a couple weeks ago. Basically, he told us, if we get it we probably won’t even know we got it. It will be very mild symptoms, if any symptoms. If the symptoms do happen to get a little intense, it will be like having the flu. Our bodies will fight it off. We’re young and healthy and our immune systems are strong. It’s not us they’re worried about, it’s passing it to those that can’t fight it off.”