Phillies vs. Yankees series postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, Marlins games shelved until Sunday

No Phillies players have tested positive in latest tests, ESPN says.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Phillies vs. Yankees series postponed due to COVID-19 concerns
Out of "an abundance of caution," officials said the remainder of the series between the Phillies and the Yankees has been postponed.

PHILADELPHIA -- Major League Baseball announced Tuesday afternoon that all games on the Miami Marlins' schedule have been postponed through Sunday after COVID-19 concerns cloud baseball's return following an outbreak in the teams' clubhouse.

Out of "an abundance of caution," officials said the remainder of the series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees has also been postponed.

As a result of the changes, the Yankees will play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Wednesday and Thursday to create more scheduling flexibility later in the season, officials said. Additional rescheduling during the week of August 3 is expected to be announced later this week.

ESPN's Jesse Rogers and MLB Insider Jeff Passan reported Tuesday morning no Phillies players or coaches tested positive in the most recent batch of coronavirus tests. On MLB Network Radio, a short time later, manager Joe Girardi confirmed the negative test results.

"Now ... it's important to understand that just because the Phillies' tests have come back clean today doesn't clear them. The incubation period for the coronavirus, per the CDC, is up to 14 days. No positives today doesn't mean there are no positives. A good initial sign, though," Passan added.

A visiting clubhouse staff member at Citizens Bank Park had tested positive in a previous round of testing over the weekend, sources tell ESPN.

ESPN's Karl Ravech reports the Yankees were told the decision to postpone the game was based on abundance of caution.

Passan reports the latest round of testing from the Miami Marlins found four new positive coronavirus cases, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

That brings the total of Marlins players who test positive over the last five days to 17.

Phillies' Andrew McCutchen said he went on Twitter to find out if he had a game tonight.

"I come on Twitter to find out if we are playing or not. I don't wait for a text because media knows the answer before us. Lol," McCutchen tweeted.

Pennsylvania health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said the decision was made that the Major League baseball teams in the state were allowed and they will follow the rules and precaution set out by MLB. She said the Philadelphia Department of Public Health has the lead in this situation as it does not report to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Pennsylvania health secretary responds to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Miami Marlins organization while playing in Philadephia.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health said it was working with the Marlins and Phillies on contact tracing to contain the spread of the virus.

Joe Girardi Speaks

Moments after ESPN's reports came out of Tuesday night's game postponement, Joe Girardi spoke to MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.

Girardi said there were a lot of anxious moments in the Phillies clubhouse over the past few days, from hearing of the Marlins' cases to waiting for the test results.

"I think this is a great wake-up call for baseball. I think, for our team, our team has been fairly disciplined. I think the reason why is because we had the Clearwater incident. And it was real to us. There were players in our clubhouse and coaches who went through this and saw how quickly it spread," Girardi said.

He said he hopes baseball will now pay more attention to the virus. He said it's not easy to replace 15 players like the Marlins will have to do after they tested positive.

When asked if this situation were to happen again, would he feel comfortable taking the field as a team, Girardi replied, "I don't think so. The fact that we haven't had anyone test positive yet is great, but there's too much at stake when you talk about players and their health and their families' health."

Girardi said the Phillies are not able to go into the clubhouse. He said he was on his way Tuesday morning to Citizens Bank Park to give another saliva test.

"We're going in half an hour shifts. The coaches are going in now. I think the infielders go in, the infielders and the outfielders, then the catchers and the starting pitchers, then relievers, however they divided it up. But that's our day," Girardi said.

Girardi said he pretty much stays confined to his apartment and works out only outside, not in a gym.

The Phillies manager is not sure the organization will continue to test every day, as they have done this week, as opposed to the every other day protocol.

This is a breaking update. Previous reports below.

Phillies vs. Yankees

Long before the scheduled first pitch Monday, the first game of a two-game series in Philadelphia was postponed due to numerous positive tests for the Marlins. Over the weekend, the Marlins won two of three against the host Phillies.

The Yankees and Phillies are due to open a two-game series at Yankees Stadium on Wednesday.

More than a dozen members of the Miami Marlins, including 11 players and two coaches, have tested positive for COVID-19 while in Philadelphia.

The Yankees were locked down in their Philadelphia hotel. On Tuesday afternoon, their buses were in holding pattern in Philadelphia. Marly Rivera of ESPN said the team was waiting to see if they were heading to New York for their home opener Wednesday at Yankees Stadium or if they would travel to Baltimore to play the Orioles.

The Yankees had their own clubhouse staff while in Philadelphia, a person familiar with their plans told the Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because details were not disclosed

Jake Arrieta, the Phillies' scheduled Monday starter, was penciled in for Tuesday, with Zach Eflin due to pitch Wednesday.

The Yankees were slated to start former Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ on Monday followed by Gerrit Cole on Tuesday. Happ was listed as Tuesday's probable pitcher as of late Monday night, meaning Cole would get the home opener Wednesday.

Happ, who made his major league debut with Philadelphia in 2007, is 5-0 with a 1.45 ERA in five career starts against his original team.

The Yankees are coming off a weekend series win at Washington, where they took two of three. New York rebounded from a 9-2 loss on Saturday, rallying late for a 3-2 win Sunday.

The Phillies are coming off an 11-6 loss to the Marlins on Sunday in which they blew an early four-run lead. Bryce Harper, who homered in the first inning, wore a mask when he reached base after Girardi alerted his players to a potential outbreak with the Marlins.

"You have to be safe," said Girardi, a former Yankees manager. "You can't really be in contact with a lot of people because you put everybody in danger."

While Harper hit his first homer Sunday, former Yankee Didi Gregorius is 4-for-11 in his first three games with Philadelphia. Gregorius spent the previous five seasons with the Yankees, who did not retain him when they pursued and ultimately signed Cole.

Arrieta, entering his third season with the Phillies, hopes to continue showing he is recovered after missing most of the second half of last season with an elbow injury. He was 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA before his season ended in mid-August.

Arrieta is 3-2 with a 3.98 ERA in nine career appearances (eight starts) against the Yankees.

Marlins Scramble

More than a dozen Marlins players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak that stranded the team in Philadelphia.

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter released a statement saying the health of players and staff was his organization's primary focus.

"We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests," Jeter said.

Miami's home opener against Baltimore was postponed as was Tuesday's finale of the two-game series at Marlins Park.

The Marlins scrambled for roster replacements and the Orioles were flying home from Miami without playing a game.

"Obviously, we don't want any player to get exposed. It's not a positive thing," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said on the MLB Network. "But I don't see it as a nightmare. We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That's why we have the expanded rosters, that's why we have the pool of additional players. And we think we can keep people safe and continue to play."

Nine Marlins players on the 30-man roster, two taxi squad players and two staff members tested positive prior to Tuesday's results, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the results hadn't been publicly disclosed.

The Marlins postponed their flight home Sunday night after their series finale against the Phillies.

Sources confirm to ESPN that Washington Nationals players voted against going to Miami this weekend following the Marlins' COVID-19 outbreak. It will be up to the league to make the ultimate decision.

RELATED: City supports Marlins' quarantine in Philadelphia after positive COVID-19 tests

After around a dozen Marlins players and two coaches tested positive for COVID19, Major League Baseball is facing a major setback.

The Orioles are scheduled to host the Marlins in a two-game series starting Wednesday.

"If the testing results are acceptable, the Marlins will resume play in Baltimore on Wednesday against the Orioles," Manfred said.

The Marlins placed infielder Garrett Cooper, outfielder Harold Ramírez and right-hander José Ureña on the injured list. They claimed right-hander Justin Shafer and left-hander Josh Smith off waivers from Cincinnati, and will likely rely heavily on reinforcements from their training camp in Jupiter, Florida.

Because there are no minor league games this season, teams are allowed to retain 60 players each. They have 30-man rosters during the first two weeks of the season plus a taxi squad of up to three players for every road trip, giving them immediate options to replace ailing players.

The Marlins could bus from Philadelphia to Baltimore.

"Postponing tonight's home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation," Jeter said.

Ureña was scratched from his scheduled start in Sunday's game, and catcher Jorge Alfaro went on the injured list Friday. No reasons were given for the moves, and it was unclear when the Marlins received the latest positive test results.

Atlanta might have been the source of the Marlins' outbreak. They played exhibition games there Tuesday and Wednesday against the Braves, who have since been without their top two catchers, Tyler Flowers and Travis d'Arnaud, after both showed symptoms of COVID-19.

Talk of Baseball

The Marlins' outbreak was the talk of baseball, disrupting Major League Baseball's schedule on the fifth day of the pandemic-delayed season.

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez summed up the situation in a season barely underway.

"I'm going to be honest with you: I'm scared," Martinez said.

Martinez choked on his words as he discussed the situation. Martinez missed time last season because of a heart condition, and the Nationals are scheduled to play in Miami this weekend.

"My level of concern went from about an eight to a 12. I mean this thing really hits home now," Martinez said. "I got guys in our clubhouse that are really concerned, as well."

Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria will be kept away from his team after experiencing a "slight cough and nasal congestion," general manager Rick Hahn said. Tests were planned.

Coming just days into the 60-game season, the Marlins' outbreak raised anew questions about Manfred's plan for navigating the pandemic.

"Now we REALLY get to see if MLB is going to put players health first," tweeted Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price, who opted out of playing this season. "Remember when Manfred said players health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I'm at home right now is because players health wasn't being put first. I can see that hasn't changed."

Manfred said there are factors that would force MLB to alter plans.

"A team losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive would be an issue that we would have to address and have to think about making a change," he said. "Whether that was shutting down a part of the season, the whole season, that depends on the circumstances. Same thing with respect to league-wide. You get to a certain point league wide where it does become a health threat, and we certainly would shut down at that point."

Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto, said the Marlins' outbreak isn't a surprise because MLB's plan was seriously flawed.

"Baseball is in huge trouble," Morris said. "It makes me wonder if they are listening to the advice of experts or whether their experts are giving them good advice. This was not a plan anyone who knows what they are talking about would have conceived. It's playing out like it was supposed to play out."

MLB and the union held talks Monday after aspects of the protocols were widely ignored during the season's first four days, such as the prohibitions on high-fives and other physical celebrations.

Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell said that in the wake of Marlins' outbreak, his team will double down on efforts to be safe.

"This was a huge punch to the face, a realization that we have to be perfect," Counsell said. "It feels like a tough task, but we're going to try and get it right."

The NBA and NHL plan to resume their seasons in bubble environments, with basketball at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and hockey at Edmonton, Alberta, and Toronto.


ESPN & The Associated Press contributed to this report.