As we inch closer to the first pitch of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, Washington Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto has tested positive for COVID-19. ESPN's Jeff Passan announced the news this afternoon. Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo said that Soto was asymptomatic. The team released their Opening Day roster today, which did not include Soto.
There has been a lot of concern about the virus within MLB teams since they reported to summer camp in early July. The latest round of testing, however, showed progress and very few new positive cases. This afternoon's news is sure to inject new concerns into the discussion around MLB starting its season.
While other professional sports leagues are using the bubble and hub city models, MLB has decided to proceed as usual, with teams traveling around the country to play away games. There is limited travel, though, as teams are only playing teams from their respective divisions in each league.
The Nats will surely miss Soto in their lineup. Just 21 years old, Soto batted. 282 with 34 home runs and 110 RBIs for the team last season as he helped lead them to their first World Series championship.
We are just about four hours from the first pitch of tonight's game, and there are still a lot of questions surrounding the season. The Blue Jays still don't have a home, the league and the Players Association are undecided on the postseason structure, and star players keep testing positive.
While we all hope we can have an MLB season this year, it has to be done well and with the health of the players as the biggest concern.