The Toronto Blue Jays have three players who remain stranded in spring Training purgatory in Florida amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Blue Jays trio of pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu, Shun Yamaguchi, and Rafael Dolis are caught in between their native homeland and Dunedin due to the season being stalled. Immigration issues seem to be the biggest contributing factor to their Florida sequestering.
However, in saying that, there are worse places you could be stranded than Florida in March, like Toronto. Ryu who was the Blue Jays prized offseason signing has opted to continue his training in Dunedin rather than returning to Korea at this point in time.
The hurler’s wife is also seven months pregnant as the couple prepares for their first child. That wrinkle is no doubt muddying the waters in a possible return to Korea during this extended break.
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I am not an immigration expert but I would assume returning home could complicate their work Visas and their eventual return to North America, but I am only guessing at this point. Yamaguchi is a native of Japan while Dolis hails from the Dominican Republic but has played in Japan for the past four seasons.
The Blue Jays had initially opted to keep their Spring Training facility open to players who chose to remain in Florida. However, according to President Mark Shapiro, the organization opted to close it’s doors this past week to avoid the possible spread of the Coronavirus.
Shapiro indicated it got to a point last week where it was not safe for staff and players to be congregating and socializing at the facility.
There is no clear indication when the season will commence as the pandemic appears to be gaining steam in North America. It is rumoured teams will need at least four weeks to prepare for the season once the ban has been lifted so my best guess is mid-June before we see any meaningful baseball north of the border.
For now, the trio of new Jays players needs to make the best of their respective situations in Florida and wait it out.