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Everything you need to know about the Orioles’ summer camp workouts, which begin Friday

It’s been over 16 weeks since the Orioles were together for workouts in spring training. Back then, a group of players not scheduled for the March 12 game against the Minnesota Twins was hitting and playing catch at the Ed Smith Stadium complex as their traveling teammates returned.

They never played that game, and baseball has been shut down ever since due to the coronavirus pandemic. That changes Friday when workouts begin at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the three-week sprint to MLB’s new Opening Day, which could either be July 23 or July 24.

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Friday’s workout will be the beginning of baseball’s great experiment in the time of COVID-19, one that will require dozens of players, coaches and staff to stay safe at and away from the ballpark to allow the season to continue.

It will be a unique few weeks, with the scale of a season start-up like this unprecedented in recent times. Here’s everything we know about what will be happening at Camden Yards starting Friday:

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Who will be there?

On Sunday, the Orioles announced the 44 players they’d be bringing to Baltimore as part of their initial player pool. Teams are allowed to have up to 60 players active between their main site and a secondary site, which for the Orioles is likely to be at Bowie’s Prince George Stadium. They’ll use the secondary site when it’s ready for minor league depth — players who could help the major league team this season. Then the team likely will add younger prospects as the summer goes on.

The Orioles’ initial player pool is as follows: catchers Bryan Holaday (non-roster invitee), Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns; infielders: Hanser Alberto, Chris Davis, Dilson Herrera (NRI), José Iglesias, Richie Martin, Renato Núñez, Rio Ruiz, Pat Valaika (NRI), Andrew Velazquez, Stevie Wilkerson (NRI); Outfielders: Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, Dwight Smith Jr., DJ Stewart; Pitchers: Shawn Armstrong, Ty Blach (NRI), Richard Bleier, Cody Carroll, Miguel Castro, Alex Cobb, Thomas Eshelman (NRI), Paul Fry, Mychal Givens, Eric Hanhold (NRI), Hunter Harvey, David Hess, Branden Kline (NRI), Wade LeBlanc (NRI), Travis Lakins Sr., John Means, Tommy Milone (NRI), Tanner Scott, Chandler Shepherd (NRI), Kohl Stewart, Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate, Cesar Valdez (NRI), Hector Velázquez, Asher Wojciechowski, Ron Zastryzny (NRI).

What’s happened so far?

Players were due at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Wednesday to be tested for COVID-19, and were expected to quarantine after that. Those who tested negative will begin workouts Friday, with the expectation that pitchers and catchers will begin first the way they do in a typical spring training period.

What’s the plan?

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said earlier this week that there would be “real scripted plans” at the ballpark during these early workouts. An Associated Press summary of the return-to-play protocols outlined that pitchers and catchers would train in groups of five in the first phase of workouts, while Elias said clubhouse spaces were being rearranged and reimagined with extra spaces made available to adhere to physical-distancing requirements.

With 26 pitchers and four catchers in camp, that will mean plenty of waves of players through the weight room and field at different times. Many position players have reported to Baltimore for testing in the last two days as well, and those who are allowed will want to get some work in as soon as possible.

What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

MLB’s safety and return-to-play protocols are strict, an acknowledgment that they expect positive tests.

Anyone who tests positive can only return after they get two negative tests for COVID-19 taken more than 24 hours apart, has no fever or respiratory symptoms for at least 72 hours, and a certification that they aren’t a threat to spread the virus by a three-person panel that includes the team’s physician and two other doctors, according to ESPN.

Players who test positive, show symptoms or interacted with someone who has done either, can be placed on the COVID-specific injured list. There’s no obligation for the team or MLB to share who those players are, though.

Can fans come watch the workouts?

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is closed to the public, and that includes many of the areas around it. Fencing is shielding the parking lot where players and staff will enter and be screened on a daily basis, and windscreen is up around the ballpark gates to prevent fans from congregating in the area in hopes of catching a view of the action.

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