As baseball nears the two-week countdown to the start of its delayed season, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep more players, including Boston Red Sox projected opening day starter Eduardo Rodriguez, off the field.
On Tuesday, one day after Major League Baseball released its 60-game schedule, there was continued evidence of the difficulties caused by the pandemic.
The San Francisco Giants suspended workouts at Oracle Park as they awaited the results of weekend tests for the coronavirus. The Chicago Cubs’ workout was delayed.
The Cubs’ workout was delayed a few hours as the team awaited test results. On Monday, Cubs slugger Kris Bryant criticized the lack of frequency of the tests and delays in getting results.
Manager David Ross said Tuesday’s delay “isn’t a huge deal” and seemed bigger ”with what’s been going on with some teams the last day or so.”
Ross said quote “We can’t just crush MLB because this is new to them, too, and the testing facility.”
The two teams from last year’s World Series, the champion Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros, resumed workouts after canceling practices on Monday because of testing delays.
Oakland left-hander Jake Diekman, who has ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune condition, said teams having to call off workouts because of delays in test results “just can’t happen.”
Giants manager Gabe Kapler said one missed day wouldn’t put his club behind. He said he expects the testing process to improve.
The Giants already have had prospect Hunter Bishop and pitcher Luis Madero test positive.
Rodriguez, who broke out in 2019 as a star, and Red Sox prospect Bobby Dalbec tested positive for the virus.
Rodriguez had not reported to camp after informing the team that he had been around relatives who had been ill. Dalbec, a third baseman, also is home and is asymptomatic.
Manager Ron Roenicke said it is “just unfortunate” the positive test could jeopardize Rodriguez’s chances to start on opening day. Rodriguez had career-best numbers with 19 wins and a 3.81 ERA in 2019.
Also, the Kansas City Royals announced right-hander Brad Keller and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn had positive tests and gave the team permission to announce the results.
Keller, 24, said he has “minor symptoms that remind me more of an allergy attack.”
The threat of an infection was enough for the Cleveland Indians to keep outfielder Franmil Reyes away from camp. Reyes was told to stay home after he was seen on social media attending a weekend holiday party without wearing a mask.
It was an example that off-field activities can affect a player’s status.
Manager Terry Francona said Reyes would be re-tested “when it’s appropriate.”
Francona said Reyes could have exposed himself and his teammates to the virus by not practicing social distancing or wearing a mask. Francona said he has used the incident as a teaching point for other players. He said Reyes has apologized.