Washington Nationals’ reliever Sean Doolittle expressed concern over an early lag in the process of getting results of the COVID-19 testing from MLB’s testing facilities when he spoke to the press corps in D.C. on Sunday afternoon.
“There were a few teams that their results didn’t come back,” he explained as he relayed the fact that he was tested on Sunday before receiving the results from his own test on Friday.
“And so they lost a day, and Spring Training is only three weeks long, you got to have those days. You need every day to try to get ready for the season.
“So as the season moves forward, as we continue Spring Training, especially once we start traveling, those results got to be back.
“That’s one of the biggest things, that there were a lot of guys that were on the fence, that decided to try to play to see how this was going to go because we were going to have our results within 48 hours. So, hopefully that’s something that we can address and improve moving forward.”
As of this morning, however, the Nationals still hadn’t received results from Friday’s tests, so they canceled the fourth day of Spring Training 2.0/Summer Camp workouts.
“Per MLB’s protocol,” GM Mike Rizzo explained, “all players and staff were tested for COVID-19 on Friday, July 3rd. Seventy-two hours later, we have yet to receive the results of those tests. We cannot have our players and staff work at risk. Therefore, we have cancelled our team workout scheduled for this morning. We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff, and their families. Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”
It’s an inauspicious beginning to Major League Baseball’s attempt to hold a 60-game, 66-day, 2020 season amidst an ongoing pandemic.
Did they not plan ahead knowing they were starting things up on a holiday weekend? Is it just not going to be possible to turn results around when they’re testing players and team staff every other day as originally planned?
It’s not just the Nationals, of course. The Oakland Athletics, the team Doolittle referred to in his comments, were forced to cancel their workouts over the weekend because of delays in getting testing results, and after the Nats’ announcement this morning, the Houston Astros canceled their own scheduled work for today. Not great, MLB. Not great.