Baseball: Phillies shut facility after players test positive for COVID-19

(Reuters) - The Philadelphia Phillies have closed their training facilities in Clearwater, Florida, after five players and three staff members tested positive for COVID-19, the Major League Baseball (MLB) team said on Friday.

The names of the infected individuals were not revealed but the Phillies said the first confirmed case occurred on Tuesday and that 12 more staff members and 20 players - both major leaguers and minor leaguers - are awaiting results.

The outbreak comes as MLB and the MLB Players Association are trying to reach a deal to begin the 2020 season, which was supposed to begin in late March.

“In terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies’ 2020 season, the club declines comment, believing that it is too early to know,” the team said in a statement.

The Phillies said the Clearwater facility, which it uses for spring training, will remain closed until medical authorities are confident the virus is under control and the site is disinfected.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar