Mike Rizzo spoke for almost 30 minutes Friday about his new reality, one filled with uncertainty, a multitude of contingency plans and a reminder the Nationals will enter the season -- should there be one -- as the defending World Series champions.
Up first was the most pressing topic: Is anyone on the team ill?
No Washington Nationals player has shown symptoms of, or been tested for, Coronavirus, Rizzo said on a conference call.
But they are scattered. Thirteen players remain in West Palm Beach, Florida, as do Rizzo, manager Davey Martinez, medical staff members, coaching staff members and workout instructors. Three players returned to the District. The rest are at their homes.
“Obviously, we're in unprecedented times here,” Rizzo said. “From the beginning of this pandemic, we've been working very, very closely with the public health authorities and MLB to help us navigate through these troubling times. Our focus is simple: It is for the health and safety of our players, our staff and their families. That is our top priority and that is what we're working diligently to get done.
“We're very fortunate here with the Nationals that we've had no players show any symptoms of the coronavirus to the point where it would suggest any testing. We've had no players tested. Players are in constant, direct contact with our medical teams on a daily basis.”
Rizzo pointed out multiple things about how the Nationals are now operating:
-- The organization is following CDC guidelines.
-- The organization is also following MLB guidance “on a number of safety and operational fronts.”
-- Rizzo is on two conference calls each week; one with MLB, one with the CDC “about the virus and how to contain it and control it.”
-- He took time to commend the league for what he considers proactive movement. He also said the Nationals and Lerner family were “out in front of this thing right at the beginning of it. We put in our own protocols even before MLB put in theirs, so we felt we had a fairly good handle on this thing even before it became a pandemic.”
For now, Rizzo is waiting along with everyone else.
“There are still a lot of unknowns, and our leadership team is working tirelessly to make sure our organization is handling this situation the best we can,” Rizzo said. “It’s a very, very fluid situation, and again, this thing is not in the general manager’s manual. These are very, very fluid times, and they are very uncertain times, and suffice to say, we are all about caring for our players, our staff and their families, to make sure we do what we’re supposed to do and be good citizens and take care of each other.”
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