The Miami Marlins postponed their home opener on Monday after at least 14 players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19. As coronavirus cases continued to pop up on the team, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan that it would be better to cancel the night contest against the Baltimore Orioles rather than risk infecting members of the other team.
Coming into Monday, four Marlins were known to be COVID-19 positive. Another eight players and two coaches reportedly came down with the virus. That brought the recent total to at least 14. It’s not known if the number is higher as Major League Baseball isn’t allowed to officially announce individual test results.
The Marlins finished a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday and remained in Pennsylvania in order to continue testing. According to Passan, it’s possible the infections occurred last Wednesday during the Marlins’ trip to Atlanta for an exhibition matchup against the Braves. Georgia, like Florida, is battling a resurgence of coronavirus infection rates in the state.
On Sunday, pitcher Jose Urena’s positive test came ahead of his scheduled start, and he was scratched from the lineup. Catcher Jorge Alfaro was placed on the injured list before the season opener on Friday. Infielder Garrett Cooper and outfielder Harold Ramirez were taken out of the lineup just ahead of the game’s start but no reason was given. Those close to the Marlins later said the players did have COVID-19.
“We’re taking risks every day,” Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly told reporters after their game on Sunday. “(GM) Michael Hill told me early on we were going to need to be adjustable, patient. We set ourselves up to deal with a lot. We’re getting tested early. Hopefully, we’re not tested later.”
Ken Rosenthal posted on Twitter that he spoke to two infectious disease experts who said what’s going on with the Marlins fit the definition of a “clear outbreak.” Additionally, he wondered why they went ahead and played their game against the Phillies if the team was seeing the effects of an outbreak.
Urena’s results came back just 90 minutes before he was slated to throw his first pitches. It’s not known when the Marlins reportedly found out about Cooper and Ramirez.
Before the Marlins canceled their home opener, there were some reports the franchise might attempt to play Monday night with replacements from their minor league site. Bleacher Nation’s Brett Taylor reported the idea was discarded in favor of postponement.