The St. Louis Cardinals haven't played a game since July 29 and it's unclear when they'll next be able to take the field. However, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is confident the team will be able to return, even if a full 60-game schedule isn't in the cards.
"I absolutely see a path back for the Cardinals," Manfred said, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "That is dependent on getting enough days with no positives that we're comfortable that we don't have any contagion risk. But 100% I see a path back."
The team suffered a coronavirus outbreak after it completed a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins late last month. St. Louis was expected to return last Friday against the Chicago Cubs, but a second batch of positive COVID-19 tests postponed that series, this week's set against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.
The Cardinals are next scheduled to play Friday against the Chicago White Sox, though Saturday's afternoon game has been delayed until the evening so the teams can play a doubleheader if needed.
If St. Louis is able to return, the club would need to complete 55 games in 44 days in order to play 60 contests. Manfred acknowledges that's unlikely to happen, though he's hopeful the Cardinals won't lose too many games on the whole.
"I think whether you get all the way to 60 or not, that's difficult at this point," Manfred said. "I think that they are going to play. I think it's possible for them to play enough games to be credible, to be a credible competitor this season."
He added that he hasn't been "confronted with" the idea of removing a team from the schedule entirely.
The Cardinals did not receive any new positive tests Monday from their results Sunday, sources told Goold.