Four additional Miami Marlins players have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases within the Major League Baseball club to 17 over the past five days, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.
The Marlins, who opened their season last Friday with a three-game series in Philadelphia, previously had 11 players and two coaches test positive for the virus.
The Athletic website quoted a source as saying the Marlins are still in Philadelphia, and that one of the previous team members to test positive had a subsequent test come back negative.
MLB did not immediately respond when asked by Reuters in an e-mail to confirm the report.
Anthony Fauci, the leading U.S. expert on infectious diseases, told ABC’s Good Morning America earlier Tuesday that it was too soon to halt all MLB action.
“You just have to watch this, this could put it in danger. I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day by day basis,” Fauci said.
Miami, whose home game late Tuesday had already been postponed, are currently scheduled to open a two-game series at the Baltimore Orioles starting Wednesday.
Earlier, a source told Reuters that Tuesday’s game between the Philadelphia Phillies and visiting New York Yankees had been postponed as some members of the home team await COVID-19 test results.
According to MLB’s operations manual for the coronavirus-delayed season, team members who test positive must have two negative tests taken at least 24 hours apart before they are allowed to return to team facilities.
MLB had planned to open its 162-game regular season in March, but postponed it because of the pandemic, opting for a condensed 60-game schedule that began last Thursday in Washington.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who has the power to shut down the regular season if circumstances make it unsafe, told the MLB Network on Monday that the league is prepared to handle outbreaks, such as the one with the Marlins.
“Obviously, we don’t want any player to get exposed. It’s not a positive thing, but I don’t see it as a nightmare,” Manfred said.
“We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play, that’s why we have the expanded rosters, that’s why we have the pool of additional players. We think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”