Washington Nationals Cancel Practice

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Keith Allison

Washington Nationals Cancel Practice

Coronavirus Concerns Put Season “At Risk”

The defending World Series Champions Washington Nationals canceled their team workout Monday morning, citing the “health and safety of our players” as they await results of coronavirus testing from last Friday.

Nationals president and general manager Mike Rizzo announced the decision and called on Major League Baseball to “work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab.”

Rizzo said that all Nationals players and staff were tested Friday, but they have not received the results yet. He also said that without timely test results, it is “not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp” and suggested that the upcoming 2020 season is “at risk.”

“Per MLB’s protocol, 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,” Rizzo said in a statement Monday morning. “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.”

The Nationals announced Sunday that two players out of 60 tested turned up positive for the coronavirus. But according to manager Dave Martinez, those two players took their tests last Wednesday, before reporting to Nationals Park for Summer Camp.

Washington reliever Sean Doolittle also spoke out Sunday, lamenting not having his COVID-19 test results back and imploring MLB to “clean this up.”

“It’s a little bit disorganized,” Doolittle said. “We’re not getting tests back in time. They still haven’t sent us the PPE. We’re supposed to have N95 masks, stuff like that, gowns, gloves. We’re supposed to have that stuff, we don’t have that stuff. Those are the things it’s going to take for people to stay safe enough for us to continue this season.”

Doolittle said he is still debating whether to play this season, weighing safety concerns and physical and mental health.