August 16: As of today, all of the 18 Marlins who landed on the COVID-19 injured list have been cleared to resume baseball activities and have reported to the team’s alternate training site in Jupiter, reports Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. Surely, that group will collectively need some time to ramp back up to in-game action, but their impact should be felt in the near future. In particular, FNTSY’s Craig Mish suggests that pitcher Sandy Alcantara, throwing a bullpen session today, could be ready to start as early as next weekend. For that to happen, he (and any other players vying to return) would need to travel with the team to Washington on Thursday; if that doesn’t happen, the aforementioned August 28 home series is the likely target date.
August 15: Several of the 18 Marlins players who tested positive for the coronavirus have been cleared to start baseball activities and workouts. The exact number of clearances isn’t yet known, though the Associated Press described that “most” of the 18 were given the green light. In terms of specific names, Sportsgrid’s Craig Mish tweets that shortstop Miguel Rojas and right-hander Sandy Alcantara were two of the players cleared.
Needless to say, it’s wonderful news that many of these players are healthy and recovered from the COVID-19 outbreak that halted Miami’s season for a week and put the entire baseball world on notice. From an on-field perspective, the Marlins will surely benefit from the return of so many key performers, though the Fish have done well (a 9-5 record) even with a severely short-handed roster.
The AP article notes that August 28 might be a realistic target date for any of these cleared players to actually return to the Major League roster, as they will naturally need some time to get back up to speed after missing so much time. Should the team continue to be in playoff contention, this mass return will add another layer of uncertainty to any potential trade deadline moves the Miami front office could have under consideration. The return of at least 10 players could be enough of an in-house upgrade that the Marlins might prefer to see what they have internally rather than seek out a trade chip on another team.