Blue Jays coming back to Toronto

Blue Jays baseball

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays will start training for the upcoming season at Rogers Centre, the team announced on Thursday.

The Blue Jays, the lone MLB team north of the Canada-U.S. border, had to ask for special permission from the Canadian government to use their Toronto stadium.

Training camps are set to begin around the league on Friday.

The border remains closed to non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic until at least July 21, and anyone entering Canada for non-essential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days.

It's still unclear if the government permission extends to hosting regular-season games or just training.

Unlike the NHL and NBA, which are planning to play in either hub cities or one large complex once their seasons resume, MLB teams will be travelling for road games against division rivals and teams in the corresponding division of their opposite league.

Toronto would play the bulk of its schedule (40 games) against fellow AL East teams — 10 games each against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles — and the remaining 20 games against the NL East's New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies.

The abbreviated 60-game regular season is slated to start July 23 or 24 and last 66 days.

Several Blue Jays players and staff tested positive for COVID-19 recently. The Blue Jays shut down their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., on June 19 after a player showed symptoms of the virus.

Players across MLB reported to training camps Wednesday at their respective home ballparks rather than their training grounds in Florida and Arizona, two states being ravaged by COVID-19 lately.

Toronto said earlier this week that its players would report to camp in Dunedin to begin the "intake screening and isolation process" and would either fly to Toronto after that or stay in Florida for training.