An outbreak of COVID-19 on Monday rocked Major League Baseball, forcing the postponement of multiple games less than a week after the sport launched its season following a four-month delay because of COVID-19.
Major League Baseball confirmed in a statement that games between the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles in Florida, and the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees in Pennsylvania, had been scrapped.
The decision followed reports that 10 more members of the Marlins — eight players and two coaches — had tested positive for the virus following Sunday’s game against the Phillies in Philadelphia.
Four Marlins players — Jose Urena, Garrett Cooper, Harold Ramirez and Jorge Alfaro — had already tested positive for COVID-19.
The games had been postponed to allow for additional testing, the MLB said.
“The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results,” the MLB said.
In a separate announcement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that the Marlins game against Baltimore yesterday had also been called off.
The Yankees were due to use the same locker room at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park that the Marlins had used over the weekend.
Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter said that postponing Monday’s game in Florida was the “correct decision.”
“The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these uncharted waters,” Jeter said. “Postponing tonight’s home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation.”
Jeter said that the Marlins had remained in Philadelphia to undergo further testing.
Meanwhile, Manfred said that the Marlins could return to play as soon as today depending on the outcome of testing.
“Our first concern is the health of the players and their families, and making sure that we do everything possible to minimize the spread of the virus amongst our employees,” Manfred told MLB Network.
“The Miami Marlins will not play tonight and tomorrow. We’re doing additional testing. If the test results are acceptable, the Marlins will resume play in Baltimore on Wednesday,” he said.
The postponements came with MLB less than a week into this year’s abbreviated season.
Games are taking place without fans, while players are subject to a range of strict health and safety protocols.
Unlike other sports leagues, such as Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association, which are restarting their seasons with teams based at a single location, baseball has opted to leave clubs at their home ballparks, meaning they must travel throughout the US during the season.
That decision has been criticized as risky by health experts as swathes of the US are battling skyrocketing novel coronavirus cases.
Several star players HAVE also expressed misgivings about attempting to start the season while the pandemic raged, with some opting out altogether.
Dave Martinez, the manager of the World Series-winning Washington Nationals, also expressed concerns over the outbreak.
Martinez — who underwent a heart procedure last year — admitted to feeling uneasy over the prospect of taking Washington to Miami to face the Marlins this weekend.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I’m scared. I really am,” Martinez said. “You don’t know, because of my heart condition, what happens to me if I do get it. I have to be extra careful.”
In other games on Monday it was:
‧ Rays 14, Braves 5
‧ Cubs 8, Reds 7
‧ Brewers 6, Pirates 5 (11 innings)
‧ Mets 7, Red Sox 4
‧ Padres 6, Diamondbacks 2
‧ Athletics 3, Angels 0
‧ City Royals 14, Tigers 6
‧ Astros 8, Mariners 5
‧ Blue Jays 4, Nationals 1
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