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Spring training camps are scheduled to open in less than a month, and despite COVID surges around the country, Major League Baseball currently has no plans to delay the start of spring training — and Aaron Judge would like that to remain the case.
“I think it’s gonna start on time,’’ Judge said Thursday. “I don’t see why not.”
The other major sports have all continued during the pandemic — after MLB successfully completed a 60-game regular season and playoffs last year.
For now, spring training is slated to begin in mid-February, with Opening Day coming on April 1.
Zack Britton, who took part in a webinar produced by Judge’s All Rise charity Thursday, said, “I hope we do start on time. … I hope we do get some fans in the stands, too.”
That seems to be a bit further down the road, but other sports — including the NFL’s Bills in New York — have opened their stadiums to a limited number of fans during the season. First, MLB has to get through spring training as vaccines are slowly rolled out around the nation.
But there’s no doubt the lack of fans has had an impact on this offseason — as free agency has been especially slow, with the Yankees finally springing to action last week when they agreeing to a six-year, $90 million deal to bring back DJ LeMahieu and a one-year contract for right-hander Corey Kluber just last week.
Their 40-man roster is full, so they’ll have to make at least two moves to make the LeMahieu and Kluber deals official and there are still questions about whether longtime Yankees like free agents Brett Gardner and Masahiro Tanaka will be back.
The Yankees added another arm Thursday, signing right-hander Asher Wojciechowski to a minor league deal, a source confirmed. The 32-year-old was released by the Orioles following last season, after he appeared in 10 games and had a 6.81 ERA. He is a former first-round pick of the Blue Jays has struggled throughout his career, with a 5.95 ERA in 57 games.
“I’m excited to see some familiar faces again in Tampa and go back to work,’’ Judge said.