After a successful first weekend of the 2020 season, Major League Baseball received some daunting news Monday morning that nine additional members of the Miami Marlins (seven players, two coaches) had tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), increasing the team’s total number of cases to 13.
The Marlins are currently quarantined in Philadelphia, where they just wrapped up a three-game series against the Phillies. The club was supposed to travel back to Miami for their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles, but that has since been postponed to a later date.
Monday’s contest between the New York Yankees and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park has been postponed as well. The decision was made out of precaution, as the Phillies are waiting for test results to determine if any members of the organization were exposed to the virus.
As of now, the rest of Monday’s slate is scheduled to go on. During an interview on MLB Network Radio, Los Angeles Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten explained the league anticipated an outbreak of this nature to occur and isn’t concerned it could derail the 2020 season:
“I don’t believe there is going to be any panic just yet. I think we understood that there might be occasions like this, which is why we had our player pool as big as it is. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the Marlins, because I don’t really know the extent of it just yet and who may or may not be infected and for how long they may be at risk. My understanding, from talking to other teams, is it’s supposed to be business as usual. At least for every other team.
“I also think this is going to be an evolving process. Hopefully, this is the worst outbreak we have for the rest of the season, because it will teach us some things. I do think we expected something like this at some point, and maybe getting it out of the way early will help teach us things that will avoid repetition going forward.”
While Kasten is optimistic MLB will be able to continue forward with the 2020 season, some players may feel differently. On a previously scheduled call for team owners, possibly pausing or cancelling the season reportedly was not discussed.
David Price, who was the only Dodgers player to opt out this year, criticized the league in a tweet for not making players’ health the top priority.
Kasten confident players will comply with health and safety protocols
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Marlins clubhouse, Kasten didn’t express much over players across the league needing to comply with health and safety protocols.
“I have a lot of confidence about the players because they understand what’s at stake, we’ve also spent so much time with each of them up until now going through the processes and going through the steps leading up to getting here to the opening of Summer Camp here today,” Kasten said earlier this month.
“Obviously there’s a dimension to this that involves more than just the players, it’s wherever they are when they’re not here and where those people that they come in contact with are in the rest of their lives. So it’s complicated, it’s tricky.
“I have a high level of confidence about our players who have, I think, been made to appreciate the seriousness of all this. But, as I said, this is a problem that extends far beyond just the players and we’re aware of that and I think we’re prepared to deal with that in the most responsible, safe and appropriate way.”
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