Nationals-Phillies game postponed as Washington deals with COVID-19 outbreak

Multiple players and coaches on the Washington Nationals tested positive Wednesday.

Christie Ileto Image
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Phillies-Nationals game to be held Thursday amid COVID outbreak
"I hope it's not a precursor for the NFL season because it's going to be bad," said Orville Campbell after Wednesday's Phillies-Nationals game was postponed due to a COVID outbreak.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- 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, similar to 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 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.

Juan Rodriguez and his family flew in from Los Angeles to Philadelphia for the game. He was not happy to learn the news.

"Don't they get paid millions of dollars? I don't make millions of dollars. Go get a vaccine!" he said.

The Nationals are among the teams that have reached the 85% vaccination rate, which let some of MLB's coronavirus protocols to be relaxed. That number accounts for any tier one employee in the organization, not specific to those traveling for this game.

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.

The Phillies, however, are among seven MLB teams that haven't reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold.

"I hope it's not a precursor for the NFL season because it's going to be bad," said Orville Campbell.

The canceled game will be made up on Thursday as a single-admission doubleheader beginning at 12:05 p.m. Gates will open at 11:05 a.m. Tickets from Wednesday night's game will not be valid for admission to the July 29 doubleheader.

"All fans that purchased tickets and parking (if applicable) directly from the Phillies will automatically receive an account credit in the amount of the face value of the tickets and parking. Credit can be used to purchase tickets to any remaining 2021 Phillies home game based on availability. Ticket purchasers will receive an email from the Phillies with additional information and instructions on how to redeem their credit," the Phillies said in a statement.

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.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.