The Marlins are unable to return home Monday to play the Orioles in Miami as an increasing number of players and staff members test positive for COVID-19. The game has been canceled, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal also reported that the Yankees/Phillies game scheduled to take place at Citizens Bank Park on Monday was postponed.
Late Monday morning, Major League Baseball released the following statement:
Tonight’s scheduled games between the Miami Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles at Marlins Park and the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees at Citizens Bank Park have been postponed while Major League Baseball conducts additional COVID-19 testing. The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results. Major League Baseball has been coordinating with the Major League Baseball Players Association; the Marlins; the Orioles; the Marlins’ weekend opponent, the Phillies; and Club medical staffs, and will continue to provide updates as appropriate.
A short time after that, Marlins CEO Derek Jeter sent this out:
“The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these unchartered waters. After a successful Spring 2.0, we have now experienced challenges once we went on the road and left Miami. Postponing tonight’s home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation. We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which we expect later today. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.”
There won’t be a contest at Marlins Park on Tuesday, either, according to local radio host Andy Slater. The Orioles are planning to fly back north. One possibility being considered is sending eligible Marlins players to Baltimore by bus and resuming competition there.
During an MLB owners’ conference call on Monday afternoon, “there was no talk of canceling the season,” Scott Miller of Bleacher Report tweets.
The Fish performed well against the Phillies this past weekend, winning two of three games and scoring 17 runs. But over the course of the series, Jorge Alfaro, Garrett Cooper, Harold Ramirez and José Ureña all reportedly tested positive for the virus (only Alfaro has been officially placed on the injured list).
The Marlins pushed back their scheduled flight to Miami while awaiting further test results in order to fully understand the extent of the outbreak and quarantine all infected individuals. However, with 10 more people testing positive—in addition to Alfaro, Cooper, Ramirez and Ureña—MLB is unable to downplay the issue.
Multiple reports have cited a total of 14 cases inside the traveling party. The breakdown appears to be 11 players, two coaches and one other non-player.
Combining this with Jon Heyman's reporting, the breakdown appears to be 9 Marlins players on the active roster and 1 from their taxi squad. Jorge Alfaro (already on the IL) would make 11. https://t.co/5IgtSHpdel— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) July 27, 2020
So far, all known cases on the club are asymptomatic.
Mish tweets that an additional round of tests has been conducted. Results are expected either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. It’s a similar scene at the Marlins alternate training site in Jupiter, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Nine of those players were on the travel roster that went to Atlanta for exhibition games last week, so there is concern about them possibly being exposed.
In the meantime, the Marlins front office is seeking “MLB quality players” in free agency, according to Heyman. That would give them a chance to get back in action soon without relying heavily on prospects who have been training in Jupiter.