The Marlins have received yet another positive Covid-19 test among their players, bringing the total to an alarming 18 cases, Daniel Alvarez Montes of El ExtraBase reports (via Twitter). The Marlins also have two positive cases on their coaching/training staff, bringing the total to 20 members of the team’s traveling party.
In better news for the Marlins, veteran outfielder Matt Joyce, who missed all of Summer Camp, has tested negative and been cleared to join the team, per SportsGrid’s Craig Mish (Twitter link). To be clear, Joyce was not counted among the 18 positive Marlins cases that have emerged since Opening Day.
Miami’s entire alternate training site reportedly tested negatively recently, and they’ve added several new players via waivers and free agency as they look to offset the enormous toll that the Covid-19 outbreak has taken on their team. It’s troubling, though, that players continue to test positive even though it’s now been five days since the team completed its final game of the opening series against the Phillies. Presently, Miami is slated to resume play early next week, but it’s not clear if the continual positive tests will impact that.
Certainly, the risk of further spreading Covid-19 infections throughout the league is the primary concern, but there’s also the matter of the Marlins being able to field a Major League roster whenever they do seek to return to the field. The team has additional players in reserve at its alternate training site, but of the group that opened the season there, only four had Major League experience (Ryan Lavarnway, Travis Snider, Jordan Yamamoto and Josh A. Smith).
The Marlins have since claimed Mike Morin, Justin Shafer and Josh D. Smith off waivers in addition to signing Logan Forsythe and Pat Venditte. Their additions are crucial, as the Marlins opted to take a very young group to alternate camp for development purposes. A dozen players there are 22 years old or younger — many of them not particularly close to MLB ready. Joyce will presumably need some time to ramp up at their alternate site, but he’ll give the Fish a much-needed option in the relatively near future.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said earlier this week that the Marlins outbreak does not qualify as a “nightmare” scenario, although at that point, there were 11 known positives on the roster as opposed to the current 18. And while the positive tests since Opening Day had been confined to the Marlins until this morning, the Cardinals have now reportedly had a pair of players test positive as well, causing their scheduled game in Milwaukee to be postponed.