Trea Turner singled, took third on a single by Juan Soto, then scored on Josh Bell’s three-run home run in the top of the first inning of last night’s 6-4 win in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, but the Washington Nationals’ shortstop left the dugout after crossing the plate, and he was replaced at short when the club took the field in the bottom of the first. With Turner mentioned in rumors all day, the initial questions were whether he had been traded or hurt, though there was nothing obvious on the field, and reports quickly emerged saying he had not been dealt, so?
The Nationals’ PR team sent out a note on Twitter a little while later:
#Nationals: Trea Turner tested positive for Covid-19 and was removed from tonight’s game per MLB protocols.— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) July 28, 2021
It wasn’t just fans and reporters who wondered if Turner had been traded when he first left the game.
“I don’t know, there’s lots of rumors flying around, so it was kind of like, ‘Oh, dang, what happened?’” Erick Fedde said, after starting the second game of four with the Phillies.
“And then after the game I guess, found out what really happened, so unfortunate for us and for him, but hopefully it’s nothing serious with his health.”
Fedde, of course, tested positive for COVID-19 in May, after he’d been vaccinated, and he spent time in quarantine before eventually returning to the rotation.
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez declined to comment when asked directly if Turner has been vaccinated in his post game Zoom call with reporters.
“I can’t make any comment on that,” the manager said.
But asked before that if the team got tested on Monday, Martinez said, “... yeah, so for the vaccinated people, we don’t get tested just due to protocol. Like I said, this is something that honestly it just hit us by surprise and we have to follow MLB protocols.”
Martinez said the club didn’t get the news until the middle of the opening frame.
“I found out right after he had scored, I had to pull — protocol, I have to pull him right out of the game,” he explained.
“So he goes in, and due to protocol he’s got to go get isolated right away, and now he’ll get tested and from there we’ll see what happens.”
His initial reaction to the news?
“Right then and there I’m trying to win a baseball game,” Martinez said. “We just continue to play and play hard. And like I said, the boys once again, as you’ve seen, they stayed in the game and they played hard, and we played well, and we ended up winning the ballgame.”
Turner didn’t feel sick, and there were no close contacts identified, so no one else had to go into quarantine, if you’re looking for the silver linings in this unfortunate news.
“[Turner] played the game, started the game as normal, and like I said, the first time I heard of it, the protocol is to get him out and get him isolated as soon as possible,” Martinez said.
Fedde, who’s been through this process, said he’s sure Turner is shocked and has questions he wants answered.
“I can’t speak for him, but I know that I went through just shock of feeling fine,” he said.
“Trea led us off, and rounded the bases, looked good, and it’s just one of those things, I’m sure he felt that same way and just wanted answers about — honestly, answers you can’t get on where you got it and how it happened.”
Juan Soto, who hit a 3-run HR that ended up being the difference in the Nationals’ win over the Phillies, said he too was confused when Turner initially left the game.
“When we see it we’re just thinking about the trade deadline, and we just say, ‘Alright, now we’re going to keep playing baseball.’”
“We had to keep playing baseball,” Soto continued.
“At the end of the day this is a business, we know what date we are, and this is going to happen with some of the guys, I hope not, but it is what it is, we just got to be ready and keep playing baseball.”
Soto said he didn’t have any concerns personally after learning the news on Turner.
“Not at all. I’m still being negative. We just see at the end of the day, we’ve just got to keep playing baseball, and I’m glad I’m still here.”