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Marlins infected with COVID-19 to be bussed back to Miami

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The team is finally departing Philadelphia, with eligible players preparing to resume their 2020 season in other road cities while the infected ones will be moved to a new quarantine location.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Five days after completing their season-opening series against the Phillies, the Marlins are finally getting out of town. Quarantining inflected players and staff at their hotel was no longer practical, so buses will be taking them down to Miami.

The eligible players—combined with others from the Jupiter alternate training site and signed/claimed off the scrap heap—will resume their road trip pending the approval of Major League Baseball. If allowed to proceed, they’ll head to Baltimore (vs. Orioles), followed by New York (vs. Mets) and Buffalo (vs. Blue Jays), according to the Miami Herald. The Mets and Blue Jays series were originally scheduled; visiting the Orioles replaces a Marlins/Phillies series that was supposed to be held in Miami. In total, this turn of events would keep the Fish away from home for 23 consecutive days, beginning with the first exhibition in Atlanta on Jul. 21 through the Blue Jays series finale on Aug. 12.

Catcher Jorge Alfaro was the first member of the Marlins’ traveling party to learn of his positive COVID-19 test last Friday, which made him unavailable for Opening Day. Since Sunday, there has been at least one new positive test result on the team every day, including another this morning, as Daniel Álvarez Montes of El Extrabase reported. The updated totals: 18 infected players plus two others (20 total people).

Believed to be COVID-free, second baseman Isan Díaz has considered opting out of the 2020 season, according to Jon Heyman. The Marlins have not had opt-outs yet from anybody on their roster or coaching staff. However, playing under potentially unsafe conditions for a team with little chance of being competitive, Díaz’s departure would be completely understandable.

More on this from Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald:

Taking that step without being considered a “high-risk” individual means the reigning Marlins Minor League Player of the Year would forfeit the remainder of his 2020 salary. He also wouldn’t receive a full year of MLB service time, preventing him from qualifying for free agency until after the 2026 season.

After one month away due to his own virus-related setback, outfielder Matt Joyce is ready to join the active roster, per Craig Mish. Joyce has had a long, productive career as a platoon bat (114 wRC+, 17.1 fWAR in 4,138 PA), though these unique circumstances could force him into a larger role than expected (at least until some of his teammates fully recover).

Elsewhere on Friday, the Cardinals reportedly have two pitchers who tested positive. That caused their upcoming game against the Brewers to be postponed.