PORT ST. LUCIE — A chartered bus carrying several of the Mets’ minor league players departed from a back parking lot at the team’s spring training complex Sunday and won’t soon be returning.

In the latest measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Mets closed their minor league facility and sent players home. The shutdown came on the same day it was announced a Yankees minor league player had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The Mets are expected – per recommendation of MLB – to cease group activities for major league players who had chosen to stay behind for workouts. Several players were at the complex Sunday morning for such a voluntary workout, according to a person on the premises. Other players had already opted to depart for home or New York.

Clover Park
Clover ParkGetty Images

An industry source indicated it’s likely group workouts will cease for at least two weeks. At that time the situation will be reevaluated, but with Opening Day on hold indefinitely there likely won’t be a rush. MLB originally had stated the start of the season would be delayed “at least two weeks.”

Already it appears probable April is lost, with team officials hopeful a May start-up is possible.

Among the myriad decisions MLB will face in implementing a new schedule is whether the Mets and Marlins will still play a three-game series in San Juan, Puerto Rico. That series is scheduled for April 28-30.

The Mets’ immediate attention, according to a club spokesman, has been on ensuring the safety of players and staff. To this point the only known member of the organization to be tested for coronavirus is director of player relations and community outreach Donovan Mitchell Sr. That test was negative, according to the team. Mitchell’s son, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell Jr., tested positive for the virus last week. The elder Mitchell had visited with his son in the days prior before returning to camp.

Within a stretch of 72 hours, MLB went from playing spring training games to canceling the remainder of the Grapefruit and Cactus League seasons to clearing spring training facilities.

One Mets player contacted for comment Sunday declined, saying he didn’t have enough information about the situation. Another player indicated all inquiries should be directed toward the team’s public relations staff.

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is expected to remain in Florida with members of the baseball operations staff on a short-term basis. Most of the team’s public relations staff will return to New York on Monday.