The season-opening series between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets was postponed Friday, with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo saying a fourth player from the team has tested positive for COVID-19.
Along with the positive tests, five other Nationals players are in quarantine from contact tracing, as the fallout from a COVID-19 outbreak has cast into question when Washington’s season will begin.
Positive tests from three Nationals players and another player with an inconclusive result led to the postponement of their scheduled Opening Day game Thursday. Games on Saturday and Sunday were postponed as well and will be made up throughout the rest of the season, as the teams are scheduled to play 19 games against each other as National League East rivals.
The Mets will begin their season Monday in Philadelphia. The team plans to stay and work out in Washington the next two days before traveling to Philadelphia. The Mets won’t make any changes to their rotation, with Jacob deGrom — who had been scheduled to pitch Thursday — set to start Monday’s game.
When Washington plays first will depend on the results of contact tracing the team has undertaken in the wake of the outbreak. Nationals players and staff have remained isolated in recent days, and the team hoped that its series starting Monday against the Atlanta Braves would not be imperiled too.
“For the most part, the whole team has been — we put them — in lockdown and they’re self-quarantining,” Mike Rizzo said in a videoconference Thursday.
Rizzo said Thursday that one of the players testing positive had a fever but that the others were not displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
The jointly negotiated protocol between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association mandates a weeklong quarantine for someone deemed in close contact with individuals who have tested positive, and those determined to have COVID-19 must isolate for at least 10 days.
MLB and the players’ association released their weekly testing results Friday, saying three players and one staff member had tested positive for COVID-19 from 14,354 conducted tests.
Outbreaks on St. Louis and Miami last season disrupted the teams but ultimately didn’t derail them, as both made the postseason. The Nationals, who have playoff aspirations, will start their season short-handed, as those who have tested positive will be placed on the COVID-19 injured list.