3 MLB games postponed as Marlins deal with coronavirus outbreak
As many as 14 people associated with Florida team have reportedly tested positive
Two major league games scheduled for Monday night and a third game scheduled for Tuesday were postponed as the Miami Marlins deal with a coronavirus outbreak that stranded them in Philadelphia.
The Marlins' home opener against Baltimore was called off, as was the New York Yankees' game at Philadelphia. The Yankees would have been in the same clubhouse the Marlins used last weekend.
Tuesday's matchup between the Marlins and Orioles was also postponed later on Monday.
Nine Marlins players and five staff members received positive results in tests conducted Friday, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the results hadn't been publicly disclosed.
The Marlins, who opened their season last Friday with a three-game series in Philadelphia, were originally scheduled to return home after Sunday's game but decided to wait until Monday to travel so they could undergo testing.
Major League Baseball announced the cancellation of both games about seven hours before the scheduled first pitch, saying additional COVID-19 testing was being conducted.
"The members of the Marlins' travelling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results," MLB said in a statement.
Marlins to remain in Philadelphia for now
"The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these unchartered waters," Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said in a statement.
"Postponing [Monday's] home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation," Jeter added.
Jeter said the club has conducted another round of testing for players and staff members, and the team will remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which were expected later on Monday.
After Sunday's game, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the members of the team who tested positive were quarantined in Philadelphia and that the team's decision to postpone their flight was made with family members in mind.
"We were more comfortable flying as a group later," said Mattingly. "We're talking about these guys travelling back home to their families and their kids, and it's the reason we want to be safe."
Marlins pitcher Jose Urena was scratched from his scheduled start in Sunday's game, and catcher Jorge Alfaro went on the injured list Friday. No reasons were given for the moves.
Marlins situation casts doubt on remainder of season
The Marlins' precarious health raised new doubts about MLB's ability to finish the season during a pandemic.
"Now we REALLY get to see if MLB is going to put players health first," tweeted Los Angles Dodgers pitcher David Price, who opted out of playing.
"Remember when Manfred said players health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I'm at home right now is because players health wasn't being put first. I can see that hasn't changed."
In Cincinnati, Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas and centre fielder Nick Senzel felt sick Sunday, a day after a teammate went on the injured list because he tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Canadian federal government barred the Blue Jays franchise from playing home games in Toronto, citing the health risks posed by players and staff traveling to locations in the United States with large numbers of coronavirus cases.
The Jays are due to play most of their "home" games in Buffalo, New York.
"This is a super-slippery slope," Victor Matheson, a specialist in sports economics who teaches at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, told Reuters.
"One of the problems with Major League Baseball in particular is that they play so many games, which means that anything that knocks your team out for any sort of reasonable quarantine period is a huge problem in terms of scheduling," Matheson said.
With files from The Associated Press