Marlins' Jeter blames outbreak on 'false sense of security'

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FILE - In this Friday, July 24, 2020, file photo, Miami Marlins' Jesus Aguilar, right, celebrates a win with teammates following a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter blames the teams coronavirus outbreak on a collective false sense of security that made players lax about social distancing and wearing masks. Infected were 21 members of the teams traveling party, including at least 18 players. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, File)

MIAMI – Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter says his players let up and paid a price.

Jeter blames the team's COVID-19 outbreak on a collective false sense of security that made the Marlins lax about social distancing and wearing masks.

"The entire traveling party got a little too comfortable,” Jeter said Monday.

Infected were 21 members of the traveling party, including at least 18 players. None is seriously ill, Jeter said, and he expects all to return this season.

With more than half the team sidelined, Jeter said the Marlins still can be competitive when their season resumes Tuesday at Baltimore after a hiatus of more than a week.

Following an MLB investigation, Jeter said, it's impossible to know where the first Marlins player became infected or how the coronavirus reached the clubhouse. The team didn't have a single case of COVID-19 during three weeks of summer camp and left South Florida to play two exhibition games in Atlanta.

Miami then opened the season with a three-game series in Philadelphia, where the outbreak surfaced.

“Guys were around each other, they got relaxed and they let their guard down,” Jeter said. "They were getting together in groups. They weren’t wearing masks as much as they should have; they weren’t social distancing."