After a week-long layoff, the Philadelphia Phillies are going to play baseball again.
The team announced on Sunday that the latest round of coronavirus testing from Saturday yielded no new positive results. The team will work out at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday before traveling to New York on Monday to face the Yankees.
It will be the Phillies’ first game in eight days after their 2020 season was put on hold after they were exposed to the Miami Marlins during their opening series. While in Philadelphia, the Marlins experienced a COVID-19 outbreak throughout their clubhouse with over half their active roster testing positive.
With a number of positive tests coming to light prior to the series finale between the two clubs on July 26, the Marlins still decided to play while putting members of the Phillies at risk.
As a result, Philadelphia’s ensuing four-game series against the Yankees was postponed before a series up in Buffalo against the Toronto Blue Jays was also scrapped. Luckily, no known positive tests came as a result, though two clubhouse attendants were given false-positive results.
They did everything they could to stay active despite not being able to get to the ballpark while their results came in.
“They’ve kept up trying to do as much as they could by themselves. I’ve heard guys throwing baseballs against mattresses and brick walls on the outside of their homes and wherever they are,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “It is challenging, but we knew that coming into the season. We knew that we had to be somewhat prepared for anything and I think our guys have done a pretty good job of handling that.”
The Phillies will not be greeted kindly upon their return to play this week. Four games with the MLB-best Yankees await before a three-game series against the defending NL East-champion Atlanta Braves.
Girardi’s men will have a lot of catching up to do once play does resume for Philadelphia. A majority of MLB teams have played their 10th or 11th games while Monday will be the Phillies’ fourth game of the 60-game 2020 season.
That is if the season can be completely played out.
The Phillies are just one of several teams that have already been impacted by the virus. The St. Louis Cardinals had four players test positive this weekend, forcing the postponement of their games against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Still, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is unwilling to make any severe calls on the season.
“We are playing. The players need to be better but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now,” Manfred said. “We have to be fluid, but it is manageable.”