SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Major League Baseball is temporarily advising players not to sign baseballs or use pens that fans bring to Spring Training games as a precaution, because of the potential spread of the coronavirus.
As of Wednesday, 11 people are believed to have died in the United States from the coronavirus, according to the CDC. None of the deaths reported have been in Arizona or Florida, the two states that hold Spring Training games.
According to an internal memo sent out to MLB officials, based on CDC guidance, players have been advised to temporarily avoid close human contact and interactions including taking items from fans to sign or using pens provided by fans. Players are also advised against shaking hands with fans to avoid close contact.
The guidance is reportedly based on CDC recommendations to wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and use proper coughing and sneezing techniques.
Some teams will reportedly sign items like baseballs before entering the main stadiums in order to distribute them to some fans as a temporary solution.
As of now, MLB has not given any indication that any games would be canceled, or rescheduled, etc as cases of the virus continue to arise.