MIAMI – The Marlins scrambled for roster replacements as they coped with a coronavirus outbreak. The New York Yankees had an unscheduled day off in Philadelphia while the home team underwent COVID-19 tests. The Baltimore Orioles were flying home from Miami without playing a game.
And Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez summed up the situation in a season barely underway.
“I’m going to be honest with you: I’m scared,” Martinez said.
More than a dozen Marlins players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak that stranded the team in Philadelphia, disrupting Major League Baseball’s schedule on the fifth day of the pandemic-delayed season.
Miami's home opener against Baltimore was postponed as was Tuesday's finale of the two-game series at Marlins Park. Also postponed was the Yankees' series opener Monday at Philadelphia, where New York would have been in the same clubhouse the Marlins used last weekend.
“Obviously, we don’t want any player to get exposed. It’s not a positive thing," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said on the MLB Network. "But I don’t see it as a nightmare. We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters, that’s why we have the pool of additional players. And we think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”
Nine Marlins players on the 30-man roster, two taxi squad players and two staff members tested positive, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the results hadn’t been publicly disclosed.
The Yankees are staying in Philadelphia and have their own clubhouse staff with the team there, a person familiar with their plans said, also speaking on condition of anonymity because details were not disclosed. The Marlins postponed their flight home Sunday night after their series finale against the Phillies.