PHILADELPHIA - The Marlins scrambled for roster replacements as they coped with a coronavirus outbreak. The New York Yankees had an unscheduled day off in Philadelphia while the home team underwent COVID-19 tests. The Baltimore Orioles were flying home from Miami without playing a game.
And Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez summed up the situation in a season barely underway.
“I’m going to be honest with you: I’m scared,” Martinez said.
More than a dozen Marlins players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak that stranded the team in Philadelphia, disrupting Major League Baseball’s schedule on the fifth day of the pandemic-delayed season.
Miami’s home opener against Baltimore was postponed as was Tuesday’s finale of the two-game series at Marlins Park. Also postponed was the Yankees’ series opener Monday at Philadelphia, where New York would have been in the same clubhouse the Marlins used last weekend.
“Obviously, we don’t want any player to get exposed. It’s not a positive thing,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said on the MLB Network. “But I don’t see it as a nightmare. We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters, that’s why we have the pool of additional players. And we think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”
Nine Marlins players on the 30-man roster, two taxi squad players and two staff members tested positive, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the results hadn’t been publicly disclosed.
"Players that have tested positive are isolated and are receiving no-touch food deliveries. The Marlins are doing their own contact tracing and keeping us abreast of the situation," the city's health department said Monday.
FOX's Ken Rosenthal reports Phillies players returned to Citizens Bank Park on Monday to be tested for COVID-19 and then headed straight home.
Major League Baseball announced the cancellation of two games about 7 1/5 hours before the scheduled first pitch, saying additional COVID-19 testing was being conducted. “The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results,” MLB said in a statement.
"Tonight’s scheduled games between the Miami Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles at Marlins Park and the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees at Citizens Bank Park have been postponed while Major League Baseball conducts additional COVID-19 testing. The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results. Major League Baseball has been coordinating with the Major League Baseball Players Association; the Marlins; the Orioles; the Marlins’ weekend opponent, the Phillies; and Club medical staffs, and will continue to provide updates as appropriate," read a statement released by the MLB late Monday morning.
Isan Diaz #1 and Miguel Rojas #19 of the Miami Marlins celebrate their win against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on July 26, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Marlins defeated the Phillies 11-6. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty I
Miami pitcher Jose Urena was scratched from his scheduled start in Sunday's game, and catcher Jorge Alfaro went on the injured list Friday. No reasons were given for the moves, but manager Don Mattingly said those who tested positive would be quarantined in Philadelphia.
The Marlins' precarious health raised anew doubts about MLB’s ability to finish the season during a pandemic. In Cincinnati, Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas and center fielder Nick Senzel felt sick Sunday, a day after a teammate went on the injured list because he tested positive for COVID-19.
Some Marlins players texted each other about the team’s health issues before Sunday’s game, but there was no talk of declining to play, shortstop Miguel Rojas said.
“That was never our mentality,” Rojas said. “We knew this could happen at some point. We came to the ballpark ready to play.”
Said Mattingly: “It’s fair to say guys are concerned about things. They want how they’re feeling about the situation to be heard. I think it’s fair. We’re talking about health.”
The Marlins played exhibition games at Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Braves, who have since been without their top two catchers, Tyler Flowers and Travis d’Arnaud, after both players showed symptoms of COVID-19. Mattingly declined to say whether he thought the Marlins’ health issues were related to the Atlanta stop.
Miami is a hot spot for the pandemic, but on Sunday, Mattingly said he feels safer there.
“You feel safe at the ballpark; I feel safe with my surroundings going home," he said. "It’s a lot scarier on the road.”
For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.
DOWNLOAD: FOX 29 NEWS APP
The Associated Press contributed to this report.