Several MLB Players and Coaches Have Reportedly Tested Positive for COVID-19

Some players questioned the timing of the news

MLB Hoping for 82-Game Season Starting in July
A detailed view of a pair of official Rawlings MLB baseballs. (Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty)
MLB Photos via Getty Images

The tensions between Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association already have many fans wondering whether they’ll see a baseball season this year, and now there’s another complication: several MLB players and coaches have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

There’s no word on who tested positive or how many players and staff have been impacted by the virus, but the news of the positive tests was revealed in a letter obtained by USA Today sent Monday from MLB’s Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem to Player’s Association attorney Bruce Meyer.

“The proliferation of COVID-19 outbreaks around the country over the last week, and the fact that we already know of several 40-man roster players and staff who have tested positive, has increased the risks associated with commencing spring training in the next few weeks,” Halem wrote.

“Your recent letters have all expressed the concern, in one form or another, that players are being ‘asked to take on extraordinary burdens and risks in the current environment,’” he continued. “However, the Association’s proposals to play as many games as possible, as deep into the fall as possible, increases the health risks to players and staff, which is not something we are prepared to do.”

Halem also insisted that the league’s concern over the positive tests is not simply an excuse to implement a shorter season.

“We strongly disagree with your assertion that our concern about player health and safety in the midst of the greatest health crisis in our lifetime is a ‘pretext’ to play fewer games,” he wrote. “As you are aware, while the language in [the March 26 agreement] states that the Office of the Commissioner will use ‘best efforts to play as many games as possible,’ a very important qualifier to that provision is that the schedule must take into account ‘player safety and health.’ That qualifier was inserted … because neither party had crystal ball in March 2020 to predict the COVID-19 situation at the time the 2020 season was to resume (if at all).’’

However, some players aren’t buying it, taking to Twitter to question the timing of the letter’s leaking. “First, I hope everyone is feeling ok and recovering well,” Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle wrote. “But the timing of this leak is suspicious and it feels really gross.” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo retweeted news of the positive tests and added “Good timing,” and Mets first baseman Pete Alonso replied to Rizzo’s tweet with, “It’s almost as if they planned it.”

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