The reigning World Series champion Nationals are among the teams whose COVID-19 testing hasn’t gone smoothly in Summer Camp. The club had to cancel its workout Monday because of a delay in receiving coronavirus results, and general manager Mike Rizzo voiced his dissatisfaction with the situation.
“Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp,” Rizzo said, in part. “Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”
Rizzo’s reaction didn’t go over well with commissioner Rob Manfred, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reports. A source told Svrluga, “The commissioner jumped on him for that.”
While Manfred may be upset that Rizzo made his displeasure known publicly, the GM’s concerns are understandable, partially because the virus has taken such a significant toll on his club. Two of the Nationals’ players, whose identities aren’t publicly known, tested positive over the weekend, manager Dave Martinez announced (via Jessica Camerato of MLB.com). Even before then, the Nationals saw infielder Ryan Zimmerman, right-hander Joe Ross and catcher Welington Castillo opt out of playing this year on account of health-related worries. Additionally, closer Sean Doolittle – whose wife has a lung condition that puts her at higher risk of contracting the virus, and who’s not a sure bet to play this season – has expressed concern over the delay in results that the Nats have experienced.
Meanwhile, this could go down as the latest p.r. hit for Manfred, who – after months of sparring over season length with the union – implemented a 60-game schedule in June. Manfred went on to suggest last week that the league never thought playing more than 60 games in 2020 would be feasible, though he subsequently walked back those remarks.