With 20 Miami Marlins — 18 players — having tested positive for COVID-19, the Marlins are about to split up — with the healthy ones staying in the Northeast and the infected players about to head south.
A source confirmed the Marlins plan to bus the 18 players who tested positive back to South Florida, pending final approval of MLB health officials. That bus trip is expected to begin on Friday.
The 15 healthy Marlins — plus a new batch of players needed to fill out the roster — are tentatively set to stay on the road to play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, the New York Mets at Citi Field and then the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo.
The schedule is pending approval from Major League Baseball, which should make an announcement in the coming days. Miami’s season remains paused at least through Sunday.
One more Marlins player tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest batch of daily tests, a source confirmed Friday. That brings the team’s total to 20 overall (18 players) among their nearly 60-person traveling party that remains quarantined in Philadelphia.
According to a source, the Marlins players who do not have COVID-19 were told they will travel to Baltimore on Sunday and play on Tuesday but were also told that could change. Originally, the Marlins who tested negative for the virus were expected to be able to leave their Philadelphia hotel on Friday, but MLB changed that.
Also to be noted: Marlins second baseman Isan Diaz, who has tested negative throughout, has considered opting out of the season although that situation remains fluid as of Friday afternoon, according to a source. Diaz’s agent declined comment.
Meanwhile, some Marlins veterans were informed Thursday that they will be paid for the seven games canceled unless the season is canceled — something MLB was reluctant to assure earlier this week.
The MLB players union has been lobbying MLB to pay the Marlins players for those games. And while neither party was willing to say that will definitely happen, it’s headed in that direction, according to a source.
MLB previously informed Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals players that they will be paid for their canceled games against the Marlins.
A Marlins player conveyed that he originally packed for a short road trip when the team left to play in Atlanta and Philadelphia last week and they will now be on the road for more than two weeks. But Marlins players haven’t complained about it.
Marlins players — those who tested positive for COVID-19 and those who did not — have been asked to stay inside their hotel rooms in Philadelphia all week. They have been having daily Zoom sessions with other players and manager Don Mattingly. CEO Derek Jeter appeared on at least one of those Zoom sessions.
According to a source, Marlins players are exchanging information in a group text, and a couple have said they tested positive for COVID-19. But the Marlins aren’t telling the players the identity of those who tested positive, so players have had to speculate without confirmation in most cases.
According to a source, the pitching staff has been particularly hard hit by the virus, though at least four starting position players also have tested positive. One Marlins player conveyed that nobody on the group text has indicated they have serious symptoms, though some have had said they have mild symptoms such as body aches, a running nose and a cough.
Meanwhile, the Marlins and teams in the National League East and American League East are no longer the only ones whose seasons are being impacted by positive coronavirus tests.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers’ series opener on Friday in Milwaukee was postponed because of multiple positive tests on the Cardinals roster. The Cardinals play in the NL Central, and the Marlins do not play them this season due to MLB’s regionalized schedule format for this 60-game season.
The St. Louis Dispatch reported the Cardinals have been instructed to self-isolate and are remaining in their hotel rooms with no plans going to ballpark. According to the Athletic, the Cardinals-Brewers series will start Saturday if the rest of the Cardinals team tests negative.
To this point, eight teams have had games postponed due to positive coronavirus tests.
The Marlins and Phillies, who faced each other last weekend at Citizens Bank Park and played their series finale Sunday despite the Marlins having three positive test results surface hours before first pitch, lead the way with seven lost games to this point. Their opponents have felt the residual effect of it.
Miami was supposed to play four against the Baltimore Orioles (two at home, two on the road) and three at home against the Washington Nationals. The Phillies were supposed to play four against the New York Yankees (two at home and two on the road) and three against the Toronto Blue Jays in Philadelphia. The Blue Jays series was postponed Thursday after two Phillies staff members, a coach and a home clubhouse staffer, tested positive.
The Yankees and Orioles played on Wednesday and Thursday to compensate for lost action but still have four games to make up against a team from an opposing conference that they weren’t supposed to face again this season after this week.
And now the coronavirus is impacting the Cardinals, who according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch are now undergoing contact tracing to see who else might be impacted. Milwaukee was the second stop of the Cardinals’ current road trip after playing in Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Cleveland Indians also played at the Twins on Thursday, meaning they most likely used the same visiting clubhouse as the Cardinals and could also be potentially be impacted.
The team is also monitoring activity at its alternate training site in Jupiter with Hurricane Isaias approaches South Florida. The group stopped practicing Tuesday as a precaution while undergoing rounds of daily testing. The hope, weather permitting, was for the Jupiter site to resume practicing this weekend.