COVID-19 testing delays reportedly halt workouts for multiple MLB teams
Delays in COVID-19 testing over the weekend have halted multiple Major League Baseball summer camps.
The Washington Nationals were forced to call off Monday's workouts while they await the results of tests administered Friday, general manager Mike Rizzo announced.
"We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff, and their families," Rizzo said in a statement, according to Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports. "Without accurate and timely testing, it is simply not safe for us to continue with summer camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, summer camp and the 2020 season are at risk."
The Oakland Athletics, meanwhile, have not yet been able to stage their first full-squad workout because COVID-19 tests for the team's position players were not delivered from San Francisco to the appropriate lab in Utah as of late Sunday night, according to Alex Coffey of The Athletic.
In a WhatsApp message to team employees obtained by The Athletic, A's general manager David Forst expressed his disappointment regarding the delay. He wrote that he hoped the samples would arrive by Monday so the club could hit the field that evening.
Forst added that MLB and CDT (the company collecting the samples) are responsible for both the delay and the breakdown in communication. He had earlier told reporters the Fourth of July holiday was partially to blame.
"I can tell you all what I expressed to Matt (Chapman) earlier today: This has nothing to do with us or our staff," Forst wrote in the message. "The athletic training and stadium operations staffs here have worked tirelessly to get this incredibly challenging operation up and running. At this point, the blame lies with CDT and MLB and I won't cover for them like I did earlier today.
"Despite having our schedule a week ahead of time, they didn't alert us to the possibility of any complications around July Fourth, and once there were issues, they did nothing to communicate that to us or remedy the situation until (A's head athletic trainer) Nick (Paparesta) and I forced the issue at various times today. If possible, I'm as frustrated and pissed as you are - well, probably not as pissed as Matt is - and I assure you the rest of the staff is as well."
Chapman reportedly contacted Forst prior to the message, and the two spoke directly.
While pitchers and catchers have reported for duty, position players must test negative for COVID-19 before they can enter ballparks. MLB guidelines also state that players are to be tested every other day, with results arriving within 24-48 hours. The A's had their tests administered Friday, Forst noted in his message.
The Los Angeles Angels also dealt with testing issues this weekend. Testers did not show up Sunday for the Angels and two other unidentified clubs, sources told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Angels players reportedly performed their own saliva tests and the team shipped the samples to the Utah lab.
The Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals are also among the teams awaiting test results and have canceled their Monday workouts, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle and Derrick S. Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The San Diego Padres haven't canceled workouts but are facing delays, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Though the team has received some results within 24 hours, many were reportedly not returned within the 48-hour window mentioned in MLB's protocols. At least one player who arrived in San Diego before the weekend was still waiting for intake test results as of Sunday, Lin notes.
The 2020 MLB season is slated to start on July 23.
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