How COVID-19 is impacting MLB: Tracking positive cases and players who opted out of 2020 season


Major League Baseball intends to play an abbreviated 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Following weeks of contentious negotiations between the league and the MLB Players Association, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred installed a 60-game season that is set to launch in less than two weeks, on July 23. Players started to report to a second spring training (aka “summer camp”) earlier this month.

Below we’ll be providing updates for each team with confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and a list of players who have decided to sit out the 2020 season due to health concerns. Players started getting tested as they began to show up for “spring” training 2.0, and those tests are supposed to continue regularly throughout the season. However, the first weekend of training camps showed there are already some issues with MLB’s testing process.

As many players report to their home ballparks and return to the field, some are choosing not to play this season. Nationals mainstay Ryan Zimmerman was among the first handful of players to say he won’t play in 2020. Dodgers left-hander David Price became the biggest name to opt out when he did so on July 4. Two Braves veterans — right-hander Felix Hernandez and outfielder Nick Markakis — have also said they will not be suiting up this year.

Players testing positive must first consent before their names are made public. Players testing positive must quarantine for two weeks and then must be free of symptoms and test negative twice before rejoining their clubs. According to ESPN’s Marly Rivera, there were 66 positive tests (58 players and eight staff) among 3,470 tests during the intake process, or 1.8 percent. MLB and the MLBPA released a partial report on intake testing last week

Below we have team-by-team updates on which clubs are dealing with positive cases, as well as a list of those players who have decided to opt out of the season.

Positive COVID-19 cases

Arizona Diamondbacks
RHPs Junior Guerra and Silvino Bracho have tested positive for COVID-19, manager Torey Lovullo told reporters on July 5. Both are asymptomatic. Three days later, Lovullo confirmed another unidentified 40-man roster player has tested positive.

Atlanta Braves
Four Braves players have tested positive for COVID-19: 1B Freddie Freeman, IF Pete Kozma, RHP Touki Toussaint, and LHP Will Smith. Freeman has a fever and it is “going to be a while” before he can rejoin the team. Toussaint and Smith are asymptomatic.

Boston Red Sox
Manager Ron Roenicke announced infielder Bobby Dalbec and lefties Eduardo RodriguezJosh Taylor, and Darwinzon Hernandez have tested positive for COVID-19, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. Taylor is quarantined at a hotel in Boston. Hernandez is still at home in Venezuela.

Chicago Cubs
GM Jed Hoyer told reporters that two Cubs staff members tested positive for COVID-19, but no players had known cases.

Chicago White Sox
The White Sox had two players test positive, the team announced July 5. Both players are asymptomatic and have isolated away from the team.

Colorado Rockies
Rockies All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon, left-hander Phillip Diehl, and minor-league pitcher Ryan Castellani reportedly all tested positive for the coronavirus. The three players tested positive in June following workouts at Coors Field in Denver.

Kansas City Royals
Stalwart catch Salvador Perez has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced on July 4. He is asymptomatic and in good spirits. Perez’s 14-day quarantine will end July 16. The Royals also announced on July 7 that starter Brad Keller and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn had tested positive. Keller has minor symptoms and O’Hearn is asymptomatic. Catcher Cam Gallagher announced he had tested positive on July 11, a day after taking part in an intrasquad game. He is asymptomatic. 

Los Angeles Angels
The Angels had two players test positive for COVID-19 earlier in June, GM Billy Eppler said. Eppler said one of the unnamed players showed “mild” symptoms and the other was asymptomatic.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman confirmed that the club had seen some members test positive for the coronavirus, per ESPN. Friedman would not specify whether any of the members were active players, but said none of those positive tests “have resulted in symptoms that have been problematic.” On July 12, closer Kenley Jansen reported for camp and announced his delay was tied to testing positive for COVID-19, per Pedro Moura of The Athletic.

Miami Marlins
The Marlins had four players test positive for COVID-19, according to Craig Mish. The players have not been identified in accordance with their right to privacy.

Milwaukee Brewers
Manager Craig Counsell told reporters that infielder Luis Urias and left-hander Angel Perdomo tested positive prior to intake. They’re going through protocols. Also, lefty Eric Lauer went on the COVID-19 list on July 12 because he came into contact with someone who tested positive. Lauer himself has not tested positive but must go through protocol.

Minnesota Twins
The team announced that four players have tested positive for COVID-19: INF/C Willians Astudillo, INF Nick Gordon, RHP Edwar Colina, and 1B Miguel Sano. Astudillo is asymptomatic but Sano will be away from the team. The team did not give a timetable for his return.

New York Mets
The Mets have had one player on their 40-man roster test positive for COVID-19 since March, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen told MLB’s Anthony DiComo. The unnamed player is currently recovering.

New York Yankees
The Yankees had two players test positive during the intake process, according to ESPN’s Marly Rivera: infielder DJ LeMahieu and right-handed pitcher Luis Cessa. On Saturday, July 11, manager Aaron Boone announced that closer Aroldis Chapman had also tested positive and that he would be away from the team for the “foreseeable future.”

Oakland Athletics
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo tested positive for COVID-19, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle on July 7.

Philadelphia Phillies
Seven Phillies players and five staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. Four players, including Scott Kingery, were placed on the COVID-19 injured list on July 2.

Pittsburgh Pirates
OF Socrates Brito and RHP Blake Cederlind have tested positive, manager Derek Shelton told reporters on July 5. 

St. Louis Cardinals
Two Cardinals players have tested positive for COVID-19, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced. “We did have two players test positive for COVID-19, Ricardo Sanchez and Genesis Cabrera. We also have a few tests pending and will know more tomorrow,” Mozeliak said Saturday, July 4.

San Diego Padres
OF Tommy Pham tested positive for COVID-19 but is asymptomatic and quarantining, according to GM A.J. Preller (via AJ Cassavell). Also, manager A.J. Tingler announced July 8 that recent trade addition IF Jorge Mateo has tested positive and has some symptoms, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic.

San Francisco Giants
The Giants announced on July 6 that two individuals in their organization tested positive for COVID-19, but the team did not specify whether they were players. The Giants’ 2019 first-round pick Hunter Bishop also tested positive for the coronavirus, the team said.

Seattle Mariners
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told MLB.com that “more than one” Mariners player has tested positive for COVID-19 during the league shutdown. Dipoto said that their confirmed positive cases were asymptomatic, meaning they were not exhibiting any symptoms of the illness. He did not provide any more specifics, but said the club would be carefully monitoring players.

Texas Rangers
OF Joey Gallo has tested positive, the team announced on July 6. Presently, he’s asymptomatic and quarantining at his home.

Washington Nationals
Two Nationals players tested positive for COVID-19 out of the team’s 60-person player pool, manager Dave Martinez announced July 5. The identities of the players was not disclosed. Juan Soto is isolated away from the team after having contact with one of the those two players. The Nationals had two players — Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross — opt out of the 2020 season in late June.

Opt-out list

Here is an up-to-date list of MLB players who have made the decision not to participate in the 2020 season:


There are undoubtedly several, potential short- and long-term health and safety risks being taken by those involved in a 2020 season. Given that, MLB and the MLBPA have agreed on COVID-19 guidelines which include the allowance of high-risk players or players with high-risk families to opt-out on the 2020 season.

In MLB’s plan, high-risk players who decide to opt-out would receive both their full salary and service time for the season. Players who have high-risk family members may also decide to opt-out, but MLB would leave it up to teams to make the decision of whether or not they would receive salary or service time. High-risk would include people who have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Coronavirus is commonly considered a respiratory illness, but many of those who have tested positive can experience a wide range of different symptoms, including possible effects on the heart.





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