Despite a series of postponed games because of positive COVID-19 tests, Rob Manfred isn’t ready to pause or cancel the abbreviated baseball season.
Hours after the sport’s commissioner told ESPN continuing to play is “manageable” and “there is no reason to quit now,” MLB announced plans for the Marlins and Phillies to begin play again after being held out this entire week.
The plan is that by Tuesday all 30 teams will be back in action after 20 percent of the league — six teams — were held for the weekend. The Phillies will begin a four-game, home-and-home series with the Yankees on Monday in The Bronx, while the Marlins will return to action Tuesday in Baltimore against the Orioles with a four-game series that will include a Thursday doubleheader.
The Marlins will be the “home” team in two of those games. MLB said the Marlins players not infected have remained in Philadelphia in isolation and have not worked out since last Sunday. No Phillies players have tested positive for the virus, and of the three staff to test positive, two of them were false positives. Additionally, there were no new positive results from testing done on Friday that didn’t include the aforementioned cases.
“We are playing. The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general and there is no reason to quit now,” Manfred told Karl Ravech of ESPN. “We have had to be fluid, but it is manageable.”
In the wake of 21 members of the Marlins — 18 of them players — testing positive, neither team had played since facing one another last Sunday. As a result, the Blue Jays (who were supposed to host the Phillies in Buffalo) and the Nationals (who were supposed to visit the Marlins in Miami) were also idle this weekend.
Additionally, the Cardinals and Brewers games Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee were postponed due to positive tests by two Cardinals players on Friday and multiple members of their traveling party, including one player, on Saturday. Adding to that, Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain opted out of the season on Saturday, the team announced, becoming the first big name player to do so since play began.
Manfred’s “I am not a quitter” statement comes on the heels of the commissioner telling MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark that if the sport doesn’t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could be shut down as The Post’s Joel Sherman reported. The hope was that would compel union reps to implore teammates how important it is to adhere to health and safety protocols, or else the season could soon be over.