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Report: 6 Nationals among players MLB didn't test for COVID-19 before flight from Dominican Republic

Report: 6 Nationals among players MLB didn't test for COVID-19 before flight from Dominican Republic

One of two flights chartered by Major League Baseball from the Dominican Republic to Miami carried multiple players that tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in the U.S., The Washington Post reported Thursday evening. None of the more than 160 players and staff members were tested by MLB for the disease prior to flying.

Among the passengers on those flights—which flew out of Santo Domingo on July 1—were Nationals players Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Wander Suero and Fernando Abad as well as two of their prospects in Luis Garcia and Joan Adon. All six players are isolating in D.C. and one of them, The Post reported, tested positive for the coronavirus during intake screening July 2.

The Nationals announced Sunday that two players had tested positive upon arriving to D.C. and were in isolation. In addition to the six players who flew from the D.R., Howie Kendrick, Starlin Castro and Roenis Elías were absent from practice at Nationals Park this week. Although Castro returned to the field Thursday, Washington has yet to give any updates on the remaining players not cleared for play.

RELATED: MIKE RIZZO SAYS ‘I COULDN’T LIVE WITH MYSELF IF WE WENT ON HAPHAZARDLY’

“We’re still waiting to hear about those other guys,” manager Davey Martinez said in a Zoom press conference Thursday. “But they’re working diligently, MLB and our medical staff, to get those guys cleared. Hopefully, we’ll get them soon.”

The lack of testing prior to those flights was a result of insufficient resources in the D.R. to accommodate the number of people who were to board, The Post reported. The news comes three days after the Nationals opted to cancel practice due to test results taking over 72 hours to come in. General manager Mike Rizzo issued a strong statement that afternoon stressing the importance of quick testing.

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“We cannot have our players and staff work at risk,” Rizzo wrote. “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.”

MLB’s 2020 season is scheduled to begin July 23, when the Nationals are set to host the New York Yankees on Opening Night.

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Mike Rizzo: ‘I couldn’t live with myself if we went on haphazardly’

Mike Rizzo: ‘I couldn’t live with myself if we went on haphazardly’

WASHINGTON -- Mike Rizzo was adamant Tuesday about his role as protector within the Nationals organization when discussing why the team shut down its Monday workout.

The Nationals were among a trio of teams that did not workout Monday because they were still awaiting coronavirus test results from Major League Baseball. The league previously promised results in 24-48 hours. The Nationals waited 72 hours for results from tests conducted Friday, July 3, before deciding to cancel their workout. The lack of information led Rizzo to throw up his own safeguards and asking the league to become organized.

“We’re going to see the results in a timely fashion,” Rizzo said Tuesday. “That’s all we need. That’s what we have to have to ensure our players are protected. I’m the caretaker for these guys. These are my guys. Their families are my family. The staff is my staff. I couldn’t live with myself if we went on haphazardly and didn’t abide by the rules that are in their best interest. We’re confident that after some early hiccups that the procedure is going to work smoother, get a little rhythm going and hopefully that we can turn around these tests then make prudent decisions about player health in our inner circle. But having the information makes that possible.”

RELATED: NATIONALS' DECISION TO STALL WORKOUTS SHOWS HOW PRECARIOUS MLB TESTING IS

Rizzo said he hopes, and expects, the league will find its way with testing procedures in the coming days. He also said he did not want to judge the entire situation by the early bumps.

“We’re going to proceed with caution,” Rizzo said. “If we don’t have the information that we need, we’re not going to put players’ health in jeopardy.”

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Report: Nationals star Juan Soto in isolation after contacting teammate with coronavirus

Report: Nationals star Juan Soto in isolation after contacting teammate with coronavirus

Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto is not participating in team drills on Tuesday after coming in contact with a teammate who had tested positive for coronavirus, Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty reported. He is now in isolation away from the Nationals Park.

It’s unclear who Soto came in contact with, but the Nationals announced Sunday two players had tested positive for coronavirus during the team’s initial intake on July 1. The unnamed players were quarantined.

According to Dougherty, Nationals manager Davey Martinez said there had been complications with some of the players who had traveled from out of the country for summer training. This would’ve included Soto, who traveled back from his native Dominican Republic, as did a handful of other Nationals.

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Summer camp workouts at Nats Park were canceled Monday as the team awaited the results from another round of testing that took place Friday. Washington didn’t want to risk putting more players at risk.

“Seventy-two hours later, we have yet to receive the results of those tests,” GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement Monday. “We cannot have our players and staff work at risk. Therefore, we have cancelled our team workout scheduled for this morning. 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.”

RELATED ARTICLE: NATS DECISION TO STALL WORKOUTS SHOWS JUST HOW PRECARIOUS MLB SEASON IS

Several other teams had also canceled workouts Monday. Major League Baseball responded by touting the amount of testing it has done and vowing to fix delays from over the weekend.

The Nationals are scheduled to open the season on July 23 at home against the New York Yankees.

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