Braves start summer camp with COVID-19 safety precautions

The Atlanta Braves kicked off summer camp on Friday -- a restart of their truncated spring training. Major League Baseball and the team implemented plenty of safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and hopefully keep the league on track to start their season in three weeks.

"I feel more safe in this environment right here than going to the grocery store and getting a gallon of milk," said Braves manager Brian Snitker.

One noticeable difference between summer camp and spring training was the size of the groups working out together. Groups of about 5 players cycled through Truist Park throughout the day; at a normal spring training practice, fields would be much more full and groups would be larger.

Other precautions included COVID-19 tests being done before anyone arrived, temperatures taken at the park, hand sanitizer stations on the field and masks worn whenever indoors.

Once the season starts, there will be more changes, including bans on spitting, high fives and hugs between players to maintain social distance.

"Everything that came natural is no longer accepted," said shortstop Dansby Swanson. "Understanding do's and don't's, things we can and can't do. Maybe not for you but for the other people around you."

Major League Baseball and the league's Players Association announced teams conducted 3,185 COVID-19 screenings, with 38 positive tests. Of those, 31 were players and 7 were staff members. Players are not being identified, though players can announce if they tested positive if they choose to do so. It is unknown if any of the positive tests were from Atlanta Braves players or staff.

The Braves say they are taking precautions seriously. They also say that, even if they go above and beyond staying safe, they still need people outside the baseball world to do their part, or it may stop baseball's season in its tracks.

"It's a matter of understanding what happens in the cities," said pitcher Cole Hamels. "If we do what we need to do to prevent it, there's still a whole city and a lot of other people involved that we might not have the way to control."