Local Virus Regulations Causing Issues For Some MLB Teams
Local COVID-19 regulations in both DC and L.A. are "affecting both the Nationals and Dodgers in the early stages of camp," and the issue "might create additional competitive disadvantages for both clubs if it lingers into the regular season," according to Rosenthal & Ghiroli of THE ATHLETIC. The regulations require anyone who comes into close contact with a person who tests positive for the virus to quarantine for 14 days. As a result, officials from the teams and MLB are "providing details to government officials in both locales that might lead to updated policies." Through Sunday, the Nationals had "eight players absent and the Dodgers seven." However, sources said that "only two of the Nats in that group had tested positive." The other missing players were being "held out in accordance with the local regulations that require them to quarantine after coming in close contact with someone who had tested positive." The Dodgers' number of positives was "not known." Under MLB's health and safety protocols, a player who tests positive "can return only after being symptom-free for 72 hours and receiving at least two negative results at least 24 hours apart." But in DC and L.A. County, a "different set of standards applies for players who are merely exposed to the virus and do not test positive for it." The mandatory quarantines of those players "raise concerns about their readiness for the regular season, which starts for both the Nationals and Dodgers in 10 days" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/13).
TESTING STILL A PROBLEM: In Chicago, Gordon Wittenmyer writes it was "never going to be perfect," but MLB's coronavirus testing system "needs to be good enough." Wittenmyer: "That may not seem like an especially high bar to set. But so far it has been a difficult one for baseball to clear." The Cubs, a team that "by all indications has done the best job of establishing and following safe practices," yesterday had their "manager and five other 'Tier 1' members of the organization sit out activities 'out of an abundance of caution' because their latest COVID-19 tests, from Saturday, remained 'pending.'" The results had been "analyzed," but they "appeared to be in a batch of samples that included at least one positive test, the batch involving multiple teams." Wittenmyer: "Whether it is a lab-capacity issue, a quality issue or a shipping issue, it’s not even close to good enough. Not for 30 teams barely a week from leaving their individual training-site bubbles to start playing each other for two months" (NBCSPORTSCHICAGO.com, 7/14). In St. Louis, Jeff Gordon writes, "One problem after another arose during baseball's first week back on the field." Getting "timely and accurate test results proved difficult," and players who "returned to work under difficult conditions are none too pleased with this confusion" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/14).