The Kansas City Royals announced that catcher Cam Gallagher has tested positive for COVID-19, per Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star.
Gallagher released his own statement, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Said Gallagher, “To say this caught me by surprise would be an understatement. I played in last night’s intrasquad game and felt great, then received the news this morning that my most recent test had come back positive…” Though Gallagher is asymptomatic, his statement puts the process at the forefront, as it’s unclear if the entire Royals squad will now have to quarantine because they’ve been in contact with Gallagher. The delayed test results would seem to present a huge problem for this very reason.
The Royals have a number of players who have tested positive for coronavirus so far, with Brad Keller, Ryan O’Hearn, and Salvador Perez previously testing positive. Manager Mike Matheny also tested positive, but he was recovered by the time camp began.
This also highlights the precarious nature of the catching position during the pandemic. The Royals came to camp with 6 catchers in their player pool, but with Perez and Gallagher both out having tested positive, they’re down to Nick Dini, MJ Melendez, Sebastian Rivero, and Meibrys Viloria. Only Dini and Viloria have any experience at the major league level. The Royals will now have to continue to get ready for the season without arguably their top two options behind the plate.
Viloria steps in as the primary backstop for now. Last season, the 23-year-old appeared in 42 games, amassing 148 plate appearances. He hit .211/.259/.286 while starting 39 of those games behind the plate.