An enormous question hovered over the first day of workouts across Major League Baseball on Friday: who would test positive for coronavirus?
The league and MLBPA jointly released the first round of testing results late Friday. They are encouraging. But also just one step.
Only 38 individuals -- 31 players and seven staff members -- tested positive out of 3,185 samples collected and tested. That’s a 1.2 percent positivity rate, well below the recently surging national average of 7.4 percent, according to John Hopkins University.
No one on the Nationals has tested positive yet, according to Davey Martinez. Across the league, 19 of the 30 teams had an individual test positive in the first round of results.
Three players in the Nationals’ original 60-man player pool have opted not to play this season. Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross decided earlier in the week to sit out. Veteran catcher Welington Castillo chose later in the week to stay in the Dominican Republic instead of play.
“I didn’t talk to Welington,” Mike Rizzo said Friday. “He spoke to Davey and one of our assistant GMs. But I had a long conversation with Zim. Those are tough decisions, kind of courageous decisions in my mind. The easy path is to try to grind it out and take your chances. But these two guys, Joe and Zim, felt it wasn’t worth the risk. We support both of them. These decisions were tough for them. We certainly didn’t try to talk them out of it, by any way, shape or form. We supported them greatly and admire them for it, because these were tough decisions.”
The tests, results and reactions will be a daily chore for the league from now until the postseason -- if there is one -- concludes. And, a much more complicated scenario begins with the season on July 23. The league is attempting a travel plan no other sport has remotely considered. But, the first-day returns are positive thanks to the amount of those testing negative.
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