Nationals

Nationals

Major League Baseball has completed its intake screening process and begun switching its testing procedure to the “Monitoring Testing” phase of its health plan for the 2020 season, the league announced Friday in a joint statement with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Of the 3,748 samples collected during intake screening, 66 tests turned back positive—a rate of 1.8 percent. Fifty-eight of those positives were players while the other eight were staff members, with 27 of the league’s 30 teams seeing at least one individual test positive.

With monitoring testing—a protocol that requires “Tier 1” individuals like players and on-field personnel to be tested every other day and “Tier 2” employees such as front office staff to be tested multiple times a week—already underway, MLB has collected 7,401 samples with 17 new positives (0.2 percent). Thirteen of those positives were players and four were staff members.

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Between the two phases, 28 MLB teams have had a player or staff member test positive for the coronavirus. MLB and the MLBPA agreed to an extensive set of health protocols designed to stymie the spread of the disease, but the league’s latest report indicates one team has added at least one new case since the start of camp despite all of its players arriving to its facilities without the disease.

 

The league’s testing protocol and Utah-based lab were under fire Monday, when the Nationals were joined by several teams in cancelling practice as a result of a delay in receiving the rests from tests conducted the previous Friday.

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“We cannot have our players and staff work at risk,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wrote in a statement. “We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families.  Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp.  Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab.  Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”

A 60-game season is scheduled to begin July 23, when the Nationals host the New York Yankees on Opening Night.

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