PHOENIX — Major League Baseball and the players union still are committed to playing as many games as possible this season, but there have now been 31 games postponed because of positive coronavirus cases after an outbreak on the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals, whose game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday was postponed, have had three players and three staff members test positive the past two days, according to a baseball official with direct knowledge of the situation.
The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the results have not been announced yet.
The two teams, whose game was also postponed Friday, have a scheduled doubleheader Sunday but it appears unlikely those games will be played.
Commissioner Rob Manfred warned union chief Tony Clark on Friday that if players didn’t improve their protocol efforts the season would be shut down, and alerted their TV network partners to have alternate programming “”
“There are so many unknowns in all of this,’’ Boston Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis told reporters. “We don’t know if we’re going to finish the season. We don’t know what’s happening with whatever team has COVID-19. There is a lot of uncertainty.’’
The Cardinals’ outbreak is the second largest of the season behind the Miami Marlins, who had 21 positive tests from their players and staff last week.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking,’’ Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “We say the most normal thing about the day is when we play actual baseball.’’
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There are six teams who won’t play a single game this weekend, and while MLB officials say there are no immediate plans to shut down the season, the sport is on high alert.
“It’s obviously,’’ Cardinals president John Mozeliak said, “creating a lot of anxiety here. …Obviously we knew when we started this that there was going to be people that would contract this. When we talk about a bubble it’s not a perfect bubble. It’s not a completely controlled environment.
“I’m still overall optimistic that we’ll get through this.
“But I think the best way to approach the season is day to day.”
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