Royals right-hander Brad Keller and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn have tested positive for the coronavirus, per the team. Keller said in a statement that is dealing with minor symptoms at the moment, while O’Hearn is asymptomatic. They’ll both need a pair of negative tests before they’re cleared to return to the team. For now, they’ll isolate as they await those negative tests. Keller and O’Hearn join Salvador Perez as known Royals players to have tested positive in the early days of Summer Camp.
The hope is obviously that both will make swift recoveries and be ready when games begin later this month, although there’s no way of knowing when either will be cleared. Keller, 25 later this month, is a lock for the Royals rotation and served as their Opening Day starter a year ago. The former Rule 5 pick tossed 165 1/3 frames of 4.19 ERA ball over the course of 28 starts for Kansas City this past season.
O’Hearn, who’ll turn 27 in late July, had a big Spring Training before the league shutdown and was competing with Ryan McBroom for regular reps at first base. There’s an obvious platoon pairing between the two if the organization sees fit, but both are looking at the 2020 season as a hopeful proving grounds. O’Hearn posted a monstrous .262/.353/.597 slash (153 wRC+) in 170 plate appearances in 2018 but saw his production decline precipitously in 2019 (.195/.281/.369).