The Major League Baseball Umpires Association released a statement Thursday assuring that officials will take safety precautions related to the coronavirus pandemic seriously as games resume later this month.
"Recent public comments about the current coronavirus pandemic do not in any way reflect the position of the Major League Baseball Umpires Association.
"Our nation, and the world, has suffered greatly from this deadly virus. In the midst of continued suffering, umpires are attempting to do our part to bring the great game of baseball back onto the field and into the homes of fans everywhere.
"The MLBUA fully supports the health and safety protocols agreed to by MLB and the MLBPA, and we have agreed to make dramatic changes to our usual working conditions in an effort to navigate this unprecedented season."
Umpires are scheduled to arrive at camps on Friday and will work bullpen sessions and intrasquad games once they clear intake testing, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.
Earlier this week, longtime umpire Joe West questioned the validity of coronavirus-related death statistics, stating that "I don't believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus."
Despite West's skepticism, the CDC says more than 131,000 deaths have occurred in the United States due to COVID-19.