Last year’s World Series participants — the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros — canceled their team workouts on Monday as they continue to wait for the results of their coronavirus tests to come in.
Both teams took the COVID-19 tests on Friday with no results as of yet. That creates the possibility of infected players working closely alongside teammates and coaches for days without even knowing.
“We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff, and their families,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said (h/t USA Today’s Bob Nightengale). “Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with summer camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and lab.”
“Due to the delay in receiving these results, coupled with the contagious nature of the virus, we felt it was prudent to cancel today’s workouts,” Astros GM James Click added.
Concerns about the league’s effectiveness on coronavirus testing came to light on Sunday when Nationals closer Sean Doolittle told reporters that he had not received the results of his intake test yet. Astros catcher Martin Maldonado chimed in to confirm Doolittle’s concerns, saying he had not gotten his results either.
Elsewhere, the Oakland Athletics have delayed the start of their camp because they have not received their results while the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals wait for a few of their players to find theirs out, too.
New York Mets manager Luis Rojas didn’t provide a ringing endorsement, either, telling reporters on Monday that “I assume we have [the results for all the tests]. Guys are coming in the clubhouse… As far as the results, they don’t come directly to me.”
While MLB has opened up summer camps to ramp up toward a July 23 Opening Day for a 60-game schedule in 2020, prominent players have already tested positive for COVID-19 while others are beginning to opt out of playing, even when healthy.
Most notably, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu, both All-Stars, have tested positive. Meanwhile, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond, and on Monday, Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, will not play this season to ensure the safety of themselves and their families.
Markakis was an All-Star as recently as 2018, slashing .292/.362/.432 over the past two seasons with the Braves. Manager Brian Snitker confirmed his decision on Monday morning.
Other big names like three-time AL MVP Mike Trout are also questioning whether they will play this season.