If labor negotiations don't stop MLB from playing in 2020, a global pandemic just might. News came out today that multiple Phillies players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at the team's Clearwater, Fla. facility.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia was the first to report the news this morning, with the team confirming the positive cases in a statement this afternoon.
The team's statement read: "In response to published reports and the questions that those reports have raised, the Phillies are confirming that 5 players and 3 staff members working at the club’s Clearwater facility have tested positive for Covid-19. The first confirmed case occurred this past Tuesday, June 16. In addition, 8 staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests."
Managing Partner John Middleton said, “The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected.”
In addition to the eight positive cases at the Phillies' facility, ESPN's Jeff Passan is reporting that a Blue Jays player is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and the team has shut down its Dunedin, Fla. facility.
Passan said the player is a pitcher on the team's 40-man roster and has been tested and is awaiting results.
This is obviously not good news as Major League Baseball tries to find a way to get back on the playing field. With players in other sports organizations such as the PGA Tour and the NFL also testing positive, perhaps it's best not to get back to sports at this moment, as tough as that would be.