As we all await the latest in the saga between Major League Baseball owners and players to hopefully strike a deal to play in 2020, the news coming out of Phillies camp today might be the first in a string of MLB teams having to deal with positive coronavirus cases.
First reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, five players and three staff members in Phillies camp have tested positive for the virus.
Five Phillies players who had been training at the team’s facility in Clearwater, Florida have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, multiple sources tell NBC Sports Philadelphia.
In addition to the five players, three staff members have tested positive. The identities of those infected is not known.
A significant number of team personnel are awaiting test results so it’s possible the outbreak could worsen.
None of the eight people who have been infected have been hospitalized and the virus appears to be under control in all of them.
The Phillies issued the following press release, confirming the report, and noting the facilities in Clearwater will be closed indefinitely.
“In response to published reports and the questions that those reports have raised, the Phillies are confirming that 5 players and 3 staff members working at the club’s Clearwater facility have tested positive for Covid-19. The first confirmed case occurred this past Tuesday, June 16. In addition, 8 staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests.
“Managing partner John Middleton said, “The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected.
“In terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies’ 2020 season, the club declines comment, believing that it is too early to know.”
The Phillies’ spike comes in the midst of a spike in the state of Florida, which is becoming another hotspot for the virus. This is the first known outbreak of the virus among MLB teams, so it remains to be seen the implications this will have not only in negotiations to play in 2020, but quite possibly 2021.
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