WASHINGTON – Baseball's two World Series teams canceled workouts Monday because of coronavirus testing delays that one executive worried could endanger the season.
The defending champion Washington Nationals and reigning American League champion Houston Astros called off training camp practices after not receiving test results from Friday. The St. Louis Cardinals also scrubbed their scheduled workout for similar reasons.
The cancellations come amid delays around Major League Baseball, with some players opting out, and in the aftermath of Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle criticizing slow test results and a lack of some personal protective equipment.
“Without accurate and timely testing, it is simply not safe for us to continue with summer camp,” Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said. "Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, summer camp and the 2020 season are at risk.”
Astros general manager James Click said the delay in testing results and the contagious nature of the coronavirus led to the decision to cancel a full day of workouts.
“Despite these delays over the holiday weekend, we’re optimistic that this process will be ironed out and we’ll be back on the field and ready to compete for a championship soon,” Click said.
Hours later, the Astros said they had received the delayed test results and would work out Tuesday.
MLB said in a statement that 95% of its intake testing had been completed and the Utah laboratory it's using had reported 98% of results, a majority of those a day after samples were collected. MLB said it addressed delays caused by the holiday weekend, doesn't expect them to continue and commended teams for canceling workouts.