Here we go.
Updated on Monday, July 27 at 9:50 a.m.: Nearly a dozen Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19.
Sunday, three players, including that day’s starter Jose Ureña, first baseman/designated hitter Garrett Cooper and outfielder Harold Ramirez, all tested positive, this news coming just two days after catcher Jorge Alfaro tested positive.
But according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, now it appears seven more players — and two coaches — have tested positive, as the virus tears through the Florida franchise, forcing the team to cancel Monday night’s home opener vs. Orioles. That brings the total number of players testing positive to 11. The team, which had just completed a three-game series with the Phillies in Philadelphia will remain in the city to undergo more testing. The Marlins have at least five coaches on staff over the age of 53, and one coach in his 60s.
Updated on Monday, July 27 at 6:55 p.m.: According to reports, commissioner Rob Manfred announced on a conference call with owners that there are no plans to shut down or pause the season, despite this outbreak.
“We can keep people safe and continue to play,” Manfred said on MLB Network according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.
Manfred also stated Tuesday’s Marlins-Orioles game would also be nixed.
The Yankees-Phillies game Monday night has also been postponed according to reports. The Yankees would have been using the same clubhouse as the Marlins.
Updated on Monday, July 27 at 12:15 p.m.: Marlins owner Derek Jeter issued a statement:
The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these uncharted waters. After a successful Spring 2.0, we have now experienced challenges once we want on the road and left Miami. 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.
We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which we expect later today. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.
It was first reported that the Marlins had delayed their trip home and were expected to arrive just hours before their home opener with the Baltimore Orioles that night. That is no longer the case as the entire team, not just those who tested positive, holes up in Philadelphia.
“This was not a normal getaway day,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly before this latest report. “It started abnormal from the wakeup call in the hotel [regarding Ureña], and it pretty much went until game time. There [were] a lot of discussions.”
Of course at this point, you wonder how many more Marlins may have the virus and whether or not the team should shut down the season and what that would do for MLB’s non-bubble schedule. And did any Phillies contract the disease during that three-game series with Miami? And how could the Marlins play a game when they knew they had at least four infected players?
“We knew this could happen at some point,” said Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas. “We came to the ballpark ready to play.’’
Said Mattingly, “It’s fair to say guys are concerned about things. They want their feelings as part of situations to be heard. I think it’s fair. We’re talking about health. We’re talking about these guys traveling back to their homes. To their families, to their kids. It’s the reason we want to be safe. They’ve got a voice, and they get a voice. We’re definitely going to listen to what’s going on with them.”
Due to MLB regulations, all players who test positive must be kept away from their teammates until they have two negative tests 24 hours apart, and show no symptoms for 72 hours and then get a thumb’s up from team doctors.
Updated on Monday, July 27 at 1:22 p.m.: Dodgers pitcher David Price, one of the handful of players who decided to sit out the season over concerns as to how well players would be protected, took to twitter to question the Major League Baseball’s true motivation.
“Now we REALLY get to to see if MLB is going to put players health first,” tweeted Price. “Remember when Manfred said players health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I’m at home right now is because players health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed.”
The news of the Marlins’ outbreak comes just days after the defending champion Nationals announced that their star, outfielder Juan Soto had tested positive and was scratched from their home opener, which was also MLB’s season opening game, Thursday night.
Four days later there is still no update on Soto’s status.