Major League Baseball has suspended the Miami Marlins’ season until Sunday after 15 players tested positive for COVID-19.
The Philadelphia Phillies will also remain sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic until Friday, while the rest of the US baseball league forges ahead – albeit with trepidation.
After an outbreak that infected half the Marlins’ team, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun said MLB players were constantly assessing whether they should keep playing.
“There’s real fear, there’s real anxiety for me, for all my teammates,” Braun said on Tuesday.
The US’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said the entire MLB season could be in jeopardy.
But the league came up with a patchwork schedule for the rest of this week and said that among more than 6400 tests conducted since Friday, there were no new positives among on-field personnel from any team – except the Marlins.
In a statement, MLB said it wanted to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and plan to restart play early next week.
“This could put it in danger,” Dr Fauci said on ABC’s Good Morning America.
I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis.”
His comments came before word of the Marlins’ latest test results.
MLB also postponed the three remaining games in this week’s Phillies-New York Yankees series.
The Marlins remained stranded in Philadelphia, where they played last weekend.
The Phillies-Yankees games were postponed until Thursday “out of an abundance of caution,” MLB said, although no Phillies players have tested positive.
The Marlins received positive test results for four additional players, bringing their total to 15, a source told The Associated Press.
The person declined to be identified because the results had not been publicly released.
The Marlins had been scheduled to play at Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday.
Instead, the Yankees will play at Baltimore on those days.
Miami’s three home games this weekend against the Washington Nationals were also postponed after players voted against making the trip, Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
While baseball battles its logistical challenges, the NBA and NHL are resuming their seasons in bubble environments, with basketball at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and hockey at Edmonton, Alberta, and Toronto.
The NFL has opted not to create a bubble environment as training camps open this week.
The MLS Back Tournament has been played in the bubble of Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, with no major issues.