TODAY: In another announcement from MLB, the Braves and Nationals will play a doubleheader on Wednesday to account for today’s postponement. The Nats are currently working out on their home field, and as the league’s release states, “Since the most recent round of test results of Nationals personnel included no new positives, all of the Club’s eligible personnel are permitted to participate in baseball activities at Nationals Park today.”
SUNDAY, 9:35pm: The Braves and Nationals will play on Tuesday, according to an announcement from Major League Baseball. “The most recent round of test results of Nationals personnel included no new positives. All of the Club’s eligible personnel will be able to participate in baseball activities at Nationals Park on Monday,” the league’s statement reads. Monday’s game will be postponed, and details are still forthcoming on when that game and the series with the Mets will be made up.
9:03pm: Discussions are still “ongoing” about the status of Monday’s game, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post writes, and no official announcement about a postponement has been made. The Nats have yet to hold a full-team workout, and Rizzo told Dougherty and other reporters that he was “concerned” about the possibility of playing after “a very, very short workout schedule before” Monday’s game begins.
6:00pm: Monday’s game between the Braves and Nationals has been postponed, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). The two sides are still planning to take the field for Tuesday’s scheduled game.
1:49pm: A few more people have entered quarantine as close contacts, GM Mike Rizzo told reporters (including Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com and Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington). Fortunately, the Nationals’ most recent set of tests all came back negative. No one who tested positive continues to suffer from symptoms. The “majority” of the players affected by the situation were expected to open the year on Washington’s active roster, Rizzo says. All told, eleven players and two staff members are in quarantine.
9:07am: The Nationals’ season-opening series was postponed due to COVID-19 spread within the organization. As things currently stand, Washington is scheduled to host the Braves tomorrow afternoon to kick off their season. Even if the team is able to return, they’ll be without a handful of key players.
Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, Josh Harrison and Alex Avila are among the players expected to be sidelined if the Nationals begin play early next week, reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Four Nats players have tested positive for the coronavirus, while five more are currently in quarantine as close contacts. It isn’t clear which (if any) of Schwarber, Lester, Harrison and Avila have tested positive versus being close contacts. Under the league’s 2021 health and safety protocols, an individual who tests positive is subject to a 10-day quarantine period, while close contacts are subject to seven-day quarantines. The identities of the other five players currently in quarantine are not yet known.
Avila’s potential absence could’ve played a role in the Nationals’ decision to sign veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy to a minor-league deal last night. If Avila is forced to miss time, Washington would be down to Yan Gomes and Tres Barrera as the only catchers on the 40-man roster. Barrera, initially optioned to the alternate training site, was among the handful of players reportedly slated to be recalled in the spread’s initial aftermath.