As things stand, Major League Baseball intends to play an abbreviated 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Following weeks of contentious negotiations between the league and the MLB Players Association, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred installed a 60-game season that is set to launch on July 23. With coronavirus cases surging in parts of the United States — especially in Arizona, Florida and Texas — it’s fair to wonder if MLB will be able to execute a season this season.
Below we’ll be providing updates for each team with confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and a list of players who have decided to sit out the 2020 season due to health concerns. Players will be tested as they begin to show up for “spring” training 2.0 this week and regularly throughout the season. Meanwhile, Nationals mainstay Ryan Zimmerman was among the first handful of players to say he won’t play in 2020 on Monday.
Positive COVID-19 cases
GM Jed Hoyer told reporters that two Cubs staff members tested positive for COVID-19, but no players had known cases.
Rockies All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon, left-hander Phillip Diehl, and minor-league pitcher Ryan Castellani reportedly all tested positive for the coronavirus. The three players tested positive earlier in June following workouts at Coors Field in Denver.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels had two players test positive for COVID-19 earlier in June, GM Billy Eppler said. Eppler said one of the unnamed players showed “mild” symptoms and the other was asymptomatic.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman confirmed that the club had seen some members test positive for the coronavirus, per ESPN. Friedman would not specify whether any of the members were active players, but said none of those positive tests “have resulted in symptoms that have been problematic.”
New York Mets
The Mets have had one player on their 40-man roster test positive for COVID-19 since March, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen told MLB’s Anthony DiComo. The unnamed player is currently recovering.
Seven Phillies players and five staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. The identities of those infected is unknown.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants’ 2019 first-round pick Hunter Bishop tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told MLB.com that “more than one” Mariners player has tested positive for COVID-19 during the league shutdown. Dipoto said that their confirmed positive cases were asymptomatic, meaning they were not exhibiting any symptoms of the illness. He did not provide any more specifics, but said the club would be carefully monitoring players.
Here is an up-to-date list of MLB players who have made the decision not to participate in the 2020 season:
There are undoubtedly several, potential short- and long-term health and safety risks being taken by those involved in a 2020 season. Given that, MLB and the MLBPA have agreed on COVID-19 guidelines which include the allowance of high-risk players or players with high-risk families to opt-out on the 2020 season.
In MLB’s plan, high-risk players who decide to opt-out would receive both their full salary and service time for the season. Players who have high-risk family members may also decide to opt-out, but MLB would leave it up to teams to make the decision of whether or not they would receive salary or service time. High-risk would include people who have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Coronavirus is commonly considered a respiratory illness, but many of those who have tested positive can experience a wide range of different symptoms, including possible effects on the heart.
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