A quartet of Atlanta Braves tested positive for COVID-19: Freddie Freeman, Pete Kozma, Touki Toussaint, and Will Smith, per Sportscaster Kelly Crull. Though the teams do not have to release the names of the players who test positive for coronavirus, in this case, the players consented to have their names released in order to spread awareness.
Smith and Toussaint are asymptomatic at this time. Freeman tested negative upon intake, but started developing symptoms before workouts were to begin, per The Athletic’s David O’Brien. Since it appears Freeman caught the virus while at Braves’ camp, this will be an important situation to track.
Not to mention, it’s possibly a blow to the Braves on-field expectations for 2020. There’s no telling how severe a case Freeman is dealing with, and even after he’s back to full health, he’ll need to pass the new protocols to return to play. Freeman, 30, is the longest-tenured member of the Braves. When he made his debut in 2010, Chipper Jones, David Ross, Derek Lowe, Jason Heyward, Tim Hudson, Craig Kimbrel, and Brian McCann were still a part of the team.
Though it seems like he’s been around forever, Freeman still produces like a superstar. He hit .295/.389/.549 even while dealing with an elbow injury that sapped him of some power.
Smith, meanwhile, could return earlier if he remains asymptomatic, but it’s important to remember that anybody appearing without symptoms who test positive could simply be pre-symptomatic, at which point there’s no telling yet what kind of timetable for a return might be. Smith was to be an important piece of Atlanta’s bullpen after joining the club from San Francisco via free agency. As the Giants’ closer last year, Smith went 6-0 with 34 saves and a 2.76 ERA/3.23 FIP over 60 games.
Toussaint had an outside shot at winning a spot in the Atlanta bullpen, though he figured to join the big league club at some point during the season as he has in each of the past two campaigns. Kozma was to serve as a depth infield option after playing all of 2019 for the Tigers’ Triple-A club.