2:30pm: Major League Baseball announced that it will conduct an investigation into Turner’s violation of health-and-safety protocols and implied that he could be disciplined. The league’s press release reads:
Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game. Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others. While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.
The Commissioner’s Office is beginning a full investigation into this matter and will consult with the Players Association within the parameters of the joint 2020 Operations Manual.
MLB’s release adds that nasal swabs of the Dodgers’ entire traveling party were conducted, and the league again tested both the Dodgers and Rays this morning. Their travel back to their home cities is pending approval based on the results of those tests.
Oct.28, 8:30am: Turner joined his teammates on the field after the game, celebrating with the Commissioner’s Trophy and taking part in the team photo. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, “league officials, league security personnel and some Dodgers officials spoke with Turner, asking him to remain in isolation” in the wake of his positive COVID-19 test, but Turner “was adamant about wanting to join the celebration.”
Speaking about Turner after the game, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters “I think the people who were around him were the people that would be in the contact tracing web anyway, which is how closely a lot of us have been around each other. Now I think subsequent tests we’re going to take are really important to figure out what we do and to make sure any of us that are potentially positive do not spread it to other people.”
In regards to Turner’s positive result, his Monday test was inconclusive, which the league didn’t learn until the second inning of Game 6 due to a delay in receiving the results. The league then asked for a quick turn-around for Turner’s test from yesterday, and when that test showed COVID-19 positive, the Dodgers were informed and Turner was taken out of the game. Since “inconclusive results are not uncommon,” Rosenthal said league officials were hesitant to immediately remove Turner from the game without confirmation.
Oct. 27: The Dodgers just knocked off the Rays to win their first World Series since 1988, but the victory did come with some bad news. Third baseman Justin Turner exited the Dodgers’ Game 6 win early because of a positive COVID-19 test, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times was among those to report. The Dodgers replaced Turner with Edwin Rios in the eighth inning.
First and foremost, the hope is that Turner will overcome the illness. The 35-year-old had another great regular season for the Dodgers, batting .307/.400/.460 with four home runs in 175 plate appearances, before totaling three playoff HRs and hitting .320/.346/.720 in the World Series.
As we head into the offseason, it’s unclear whether Turner will play for the Dodgers again. He’s set to enter the winter as one of the top infielders available in free agency, so there should be plenty of interest in him if he’s healthy.