Tampa Bay Rays: Ji-Man Choi and Yoshi Tsutsugo Return to Home Countries Amid Coronavirus

Ji-Man Choi (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Ji-Man Choi (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

With the Tampa Bay Rays spring facilities closed due to the coronavirus, two players have returned to their home country’s to continue training for the 2020 season.

The Tampa Bay Rays have followed the orders of Commissioner Rob Manfred and shut down their spring facilities due to concerns over the novel coronavirus pandemic. Two Rays players have decided to return to their home countries as America’s numbers grow.

Ji-Man Choi has returned to his home country of South Korea as (by all accounts) they have waged a successful campaign against the virus as the number of new cases per day has dropped exponentially since the outbreak.

Marc Topkin covers the Rays for the Tampa Bay Times and he recently posted about Choi’s decision to return home.

With facilities shut down and quarantining, self-isolation, and social distancing in progress in the United States, Choi decided to head home since they seemed to be in the process of licking the virus in South Korea… Don’t go around licking anything in public right now. 

Newly acquired Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has also opted to return to his homeland of Japan to continue to prepare for the season and to be with his family.

While Japan was one of the first countries outside of China to document a case of COVID-19, they have one of the lowest per-capita number of infections among developed nations.

While the Rays were allowing players to continue to work out at the team’s spring facilities, they ceased the operation on Tuesday, March 17. Meanwhile, baseball is being played in both Japan and South Korea. Even if there aren’t any fans, players are able to get in more work.

As conditions are trending in the right direction in South Korea and Japan, Florida is progressively getting worse. The state has been debating whether or not to issue a stay-at-home order and the total number of cases continues to rise. On Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases in Florida surpassed Japan’s total. Florida has documented1,400 cases with a population of just over 21 million people. As of today, Japan had only documented 1,140 cases with over 126 million people.

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Hopefully, the two sluggers will be able to stay in baseball shape, visit safely with family, and return to the states without any issues once we are cleared to re-engage in baseball activities. If you miss baseball, keep missing it with us.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.