PHILADELPHIA -- — Four Washington Nationals players and eight staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing Major League Baseball to postpone their game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.
The postponement came one day after Nationals star Trea Turner exited the game against Philadelphia in the first inning following his positive test for the virus.
Washington manager Dave Martinez said Turner was among four players who tested positive. He didn’t identify the others.
“I’m just worried about the guys, I really am,” Martinez said. “It’s been a tough go; this doesn’t make it any easier.”
Martinez said all but one of those who tested positive have been vaccinated. Those who tested positive have either no symptoms or minor symptoms, such as a head cold, the manager said. Martinez believes the fact they are vaccinated has prevented or limited symptoms.
“I encourage people to get vaccinated,” Martinez said. “It does help. I’m seeing it first-hand. It’s basically a small head cold, but they’re doing fine.”
The Nationals-Phillies matchup was scheduled to be made up as part of a straight doubleheader on Thursday starting at 12:05 p.m.
Martinez is planning as if those games will be played on Thursday, but he indicated that everyone who tested negative on Wednesday will have another round of tests for confirmation. At best, Washington will be calling up several players from Triple-A Rochester to be able to field a full roster on Thursday.
“We’re going to have to add, I’m sure,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll be talking to (GM Mike Rizzo) all night long.”
Washington left-hander Patrick Corbin was scheduled to pitch Wednesday night’s contest, and right-hander Max Scherzer was slated to take the mound in the finale of the four-game series on Thursday afternoon. Martinez said he’s not sure who will pitch Thursday, if the games are played as scheduled.
“I haven’t even thought about who’s going to pitch,” he said. “My concern is the health of everybody. Hopefully no one else will test positive.”
This was the ninth MLB game called off this year because of coronavirus concerns. Most recently, the July 15 Yankees-Red Sox game was postponed due to virus concerns.
The Nationals had their season-opening series at home against the New York Mets called off after four players tested positive. Washington right-hander Erick Fedde tested positive in May. Fedde is vaccinated.
Also in May, the Nationals reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold, which let some of MLB’s coronavirus protocols to be relaxed.
Martinez referenced that fact on Tuesday night following Turner's positive test, when he said vaccinated players and staff aren't subject to contact tracing protocols.
MLB announced the Nationals-Phillies postponement about 90 minutes before the game was set to begin at Citizens Bank Park, and said the time would allow for “continued testing and contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization.”
There were 45 MLB games postponed because of the virus last year during the pandemic-shortened season. All but two of them were eventually made up.
MLB playoffs 2021: Los Angeles Dodgers' Walker Buehler won't shy away from Game 6 pressure
Ahead of a crucial Game 6 showdown, L.A.'s young ace explains why nervousness helps, walks are better than hits, and the key to postseason success is a long drive and a good song.
Atlanta looks to clinch pennant with victory over Los Angeles
Los Angeles Dodgers (106-56, second in the NL West) vs. Atlanta Braves (88-73, first in the NL East)
MLB playoffs 2021 - Love them or hate them, the Houston Astros are really this good
No matter how much some despise Houston for its sign-stealing transgressions, there's no denying what this team is accomplishing now.
2021 MLB playoffs: Yordan Alvarez's MVP performance propels Houston Astros to World Series
The Houston Astros designated hitter broke out big, almost single-handedly leading the Astros to the American League pennant.
Alvarez: Astros showing we are the best team in the league
Yordan Alvarez discusses the Astros advancing to the World Series and how much they proved in beating the Red Sox.
MLB playoffs 2021: Houston Astros timeline from sign-stealing scandal to another World Series
In their third World Series in five seasons, the Astros are again playing for a title in the wake of their sign-stealing scandal and investigation.