A Coronavirus Outbreak Reportedly Saw Four Miami Marlins Players Test Positive

Florida’s COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen as new case counts remain high and deaths continue to rise in a state that attempted to reopen amid the pandemic. And now the virus has sidelined a number of players on the Miami Marlins.

Rumblings emerged on Sunday morning that the franchise had seen some positive coronavirus test results. Hours before the game, scheduled starting pitcher Jose Urena, who was slated to take on the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon, was scratched amid reports he tested positive.

Later reports indicated that Urena was among three players who tested positive . What’s worrying, of course, is that the team is currently on the road, having played in Atlanta and now finishing its opening weekend series in Philadelphia.

The news comes after the Washington Nationals started their title defense without Juan Soto, who tested positive for COVID-19 hours before the World Series champs opened at home against the New York Yankees. The obvious fear in any of these positive tests is whether contract tracing can pinpoint who athletes that have tested positive with interact with and who else is at risk and needs to be monitored to contain the spread further.

With the scrambled starting pitching situation, replacement starter Robert Dugger, struggled on the mound.

The sad reality of what Major League Baseball is attempting without a secure bubble is that athletes will continue testing positive as the abbreviated season goes on. What’s acceptable before teams have to stop playing games because of the danger of these outbreaks seems to be “more than three players, including your starting pitcher” right now, but the long-term impacts of COVID-19 among even healthy professional athletes is a worrying wrinkle of a very dangerous season of professional baseball.

Without a true separation of the professional baseball-playing population from the rest of America, these cases will continue to occur for as long as baseball is able to play. The hope is no athlete is truly at risk, but we’ve already seen significant trouble for baseball players who have dealt with COVID-19 before the season starts. Red Sox opening day starter Eduardo Rodriguez is shut down altogether after his earlier COVID-19 illness has caused myocarditis, a heart condition that diminishes the organ’s ability to pump blood. Rodriguez doesn’t want to opt out of the season, like many athletes attempting to play amid a pandemic that’s seen more than 4 million confirmed cases in the United States and likely many more undocumented cases as the pandemic worsens in many parts of the country.

Baseball’s cases will be well-documented now that the season has started, but so far the league’s hopes that they will be few and far between have been wildly unrealistic.