Yankees, Mets to move camps north to NYC

June 21st, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. -- When the Yankees and Mets each reconvene to prepare for a potential 2020 season, Spring Training 2.0 is expected to take place at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday.

The Mets confirmed Cuomo's announcement, while the Yankees did the same via a statement.

"As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this afternoon, the New York Yankees will hold a potential spring training resumption at Yankee Stadium," the statement read. "We will continue to follow Major League Baseball’s guidelines and protocols, and we will vigilantly work with Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and their health authorities, as well as with federal officials and Major League Baseball’s own medical and infectious disease experts, to ensure our facility maintains the best possible safety standards.

"The health and safety of our players, staff and employees, and of their respective families, will always be our top priority."

The Mets have trained in Port St. Lucie, Fla., since 1988, while the Yankees have spent their springs in Tampa, Fla., since 1996. Both teams departed those sites in late March, when the coronavirus pandemic forced a shutdown to professional sports across the country.

In recent weeks, however, complexes have reopened. The Mets opened theirs to local players on June 1, allowing those who reside in the Port St. Lucie area to use the facilities. A double-digit group of Yankees players have been working out at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and it was widely expected that the Bombers would resume activities at their spring home when a restart was announced.

However, those plans have changed due to Florida’s continuing spike in coronavirus numbers, with New York City far off its surging highs of March and April. The Florida Department of Health said that the state surpassed 4,000 positive COVID-19 tests for the first time on Friday, with a 12 percent positive rate. By comparison, New York State said that only 1 percent of Friday’s tests were positive (1.1 percent in New York City).

MLB closed all 30 spring camps this weekend in both Florida and Arizona for disinfection following positive coronavirus tests involving players and/or staff members at several facilities, including those utilized by the Phillies (Clearwater, Fla.) and Blue Jays (Dunedin, Fla.), who train within a short distance of the Yankees’ spring home on Florida’s west coast.

Cuomo said on Saturday that he has spoken to principal owner Hal Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine of the Yankees, and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon of the Mets, confirming that both clubs now plan to hold their Spring Training camps in New York City. 

"I want to thank the Yankees and the Mets for their consideration," Cuomo said. "I want to thank all New Yorkers for what they did, making this a state they could do their Spring Training in."

It is unclear how the Yankees plan to logistically handle a Spring Training in The Bronx. While Yankee Stadium boasts the main field and four bullpen mounds in addition to indoor batting facilities -- right-hander Gerrit Cole tossed from the mound there this week -- there is considerably more space for workouts at Steinbrenner Field, which has three diamonds and a larger bullpen area.

If Spring Training had re-started in the Sunshine State, the Yankees had also been expected to utilize their nearby Player Development complex, which has four diamonds and other training facilities.

Prior to this weekend, players known to be training at Steinbrenner Field or in the Tampa area included Miguel Andújar, Mike Ford, J.A. Happ, Aaron Hicks, DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela and Tyler Wade.

It also remains to be seen how many players and staff members the Mets would use at a Citi Field training camp. The 11-year-old stadium features three clubhouses and 1.2 million square feet of space.