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Elephant Rumblings: Doubts about Stockton as Oakland A’s alternate training site

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Stockton’s Banner Island Ballpark ... but is coronavirus lurking in the background?
Photo credit: Meghan Camino | Stockton Ports

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

We’re beginning to see the first tangible signs of a 2020 MLB season coming together. Teams submitted their 60-man player pools on Sunday, with most of them being publicly announced, and the players will begin reporting to real-life training camp next week — the Oakland A’s will hold their first workout at the Coliseum on July 4. It’s finally happening.

(Click here to see the A’s player pool, and click here for more info on what these player pools are and how they work.)

Of course, with the coronavirus pandemic showing a resurgence around the country, it’s still possible this all comes crashing down and the season is canceled for good amid a new shutdown. For now the green light is on and all systems are go, but that can change quickly.

In perhaps a foreshadowing of that potential worst-case scenario, the A’s have already seen one early effect of the unflattened curve. Each team will have an alternate training site for the members of their player pool who aren’t on the active MLB roster, and the green-and-gold have been discussing holding theirs in Stockton at Banner Island Ballpark, the home of their High-A minor league affiliate. Now that plan is in doubt.

The A’s are “rethinking” the use of Stockton, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle, due to a spike in virus cases in that area and a new set of emergency orders from Governor Gavin Newsom that include San Joaquin County. No commitments have been made by the A’s regarding Stockton, either for or against, and there hasn’t yet been specific mention of where else they might look instead if necessary.

As has been the case so often this year in baseball, it’s a feeling of two steps forward, and then one, two, or three steps back. The season is coming! But with a distinct, close-to-home reminder that it actually might not be.

A’s Coverage:

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The 54-player pool for now, with five more unofficially on the way

Look for a full story on this news later today

A tale of two countries

This is from a couple weeks ago, but nicely illustrates the potential for volatility in a small-sample season

Getting ready to do some heavy lifting in the starting rotation (nailed it)