“Unfortunately, we’ve had 12 more positive cases,” Davey Martinez announced after the third game of four with the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park was postponed by a COVID outbreak on the Washington Nationals’ roster.
Trea Turner was pulled from last night’s game after the Nationals received news that he had tested positive for the virus, and though there was no one identified as a close contact with the shortstop, this afternoon, there were enough additional positive tests for Major League Baseball to postpone the game so that more testing could be conducted.
What they know now, is 12 people total with the team have tested positive.
“Four players, including Trea [Turner], a bunch of staff members, so, as you guys all know the game has been canceled tonight. I just found out not too long ago that we will play a doubleheader tomorrow,” Martinez said.
No one has gotten seriously ill, according to Martinez, but some of those who have tested positive are experiencing mild symptoms.
“Some of the guys are asymptomatic, some are symptomatic, so it’s just unfortunate that this has happened, but we got to follow MLB protocols,” Martinez said.
The fourth-year skipper in the nation’s capital said that he is concerned about the positive tests, and the possibility that it could be more widespread.
“I’m very concerned,” Martinez said. “We all took rapid tests today. We’ll follow up. We’ll get some additional results tomorrow. So, but hopefully no one else will test positive, but there is some concern here right now. As soon as the game was canceled, I got everybody out of here on a bus and back to the hotel. I want to do the same thing myself and get back there and get out of here so they can clean this place up and we get ready for tomorrow.”
Martinez also confirmed that some of the positives among the players and staff had been vaccinated, so there are breakthrough cases, with ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reporting that sources told him they were from among those members of the team who were given the single-shot Johnson & Johnson doses earlier this season.
Of the dozen Nationals players and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, the vast majority were vaccinated, sources tell ESPN. A number of the breakthrough positives came with those given the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 28, 2021
“There’s been a bunch of people that were vaccinated,” Martinez said.
“I think only one non ... so yeah, there is some kind of concern. For me, and I’ve said this before, when this all goes down I really worry about the health and safety of everybody in our clubhouse and everybody else that could be affected, families, so I wanted to try to get everybody — like I said, out of here as soon as possible, and get them back to the hotel rooms until we figure this thing out.”
So far, at least, as he said, no one is experiencing anything beyond mild symptoms.
“Thus far nobody’s gotten very sick, which is a good thing,” Martinez said, “and I do believe that the vaccinations have helped that in a big way, and I encourage, once again, I’ve said this before, I encourage people to get vaccinated. Like I said, it does help, I’m seeing it firsthand. These guys — the guys that are getting sick it’s just basically kind of like a small head cold, but they’re doing fine.”
The team did try to find a way to play tonight’s game, but it quickly became clear that was not going to happen.
“We tried up to a certain point, and then, as we kept getting results back from the rapid tests, we’re missing a lot of guys, and it’s tough. You’re talking about 12 guys, that’s a lot.”
As for the possibility that tomorrow’s games will be postponed as well, if there are more positives when they get results from the latest tests?
As of now they’re planning on starting a doubleheader at 12:05 PM.
“We’re going to have to wait until we get these results back and hopefully we’ll have them early tomorrow morning and then we’ll go from there,” Martinez said.
“But as I explained to our players, be ready to play tomorrow, expect to play tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.”
With four players and eight coaches involved though, there will have to be significant roster shuffling.
“We’re going to have to add — that’s something that I’m going to be talking to [GM] Mike [Rizzo] about,” Martinez added.
“I’m sure I’ll be talking to him all night long and trying to figure out a roster for the next few days, and also talk to [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey about the rotation, and then we’ll go from there.”
Official word on tonight's game being postponed via the #Nationals and MLB: pic.twitter.com/7VIwGZHhMR— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) July 28, 2021
“Right now I don’t have — honestly I haven’t even thought about who’s going to pitch or what, I’m just, like I said, my concern is the health of everybody.”
It’s another blow in what’s been a tough week (and season really) for the team.
“We all know what’s going on, we all know the possibilities of what can happen,” Martinez said. “What I am — if there’s any positives out of this whole thing, like I said, we were 85% vaccinated, above 85%, and we did come positive, but like I said, nobody is really, really ill. And I think it’s because of the fact that we did get vaccinated and it does help.
“In that regard I’m glad that nobody is really, really sick, and I hope that come tomorrow nobody else tests positive and we can move on.
“For those guys that are — it really stinks for them, but I’m more worried about them than anything else.”