The Cardinals haven't played since July 29 because of a cluster of positive COVID-19 tests within the team, and now their expected return to the field against the Cubs has been postponed. This weekend's three-game series between the two NL Central rivals was called off because of three additional positive tests on the Cardinals, MLB announced on Friday.
Here's an announcement from the league:
"The Office of the Commissioner has been informed that a St. Louis Cardinals staff member and two players tested positive from samples collected over the last two days," MLB's statement says. "Out of an abundance of caution, and to ensure that all infected Cardinal players and staff members have been identified, the games between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Saturday, August 8th and Sunday, August 9th have been postponed. Major League Baseball will continue to provide updates as they become available."
St. Louis is scheduled to begin a three-game home series with the Pirates on Monday. That series may not happen either, however. Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports Cardinals players are being told to stay home and work out on their own, and the Pirates series is likely to be postponed. If that happens, the Cardinals will go at least 14 days between games. They have played only five games this season.
The Cardinals had been quarantining in their Milwaukee hotel room following the outbreak in which seven players and six staff members tested positive for the virus. Because of those positives, the Cardinals' road series against the Brewers and Tigers were postponed. After a round of rapid testing yielded negative results, the Cardinals were allowed to return to St. Louis on Wednesday and then cleared to begin the series against the Cubs on Friday. The new positive tests changed that timeline.
The Cardinals had been poised to enter the Chicago series short-handed, as they're presently without catcher Yadier Molina and shortstop Paul DeJong, who were among the Cardinals players to test positive. They're also without starter Carlos Martinez, who was placed on the IL for undisclosed reasons. Infielders Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo and right-handed relievers Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley also are on the IL following positive tests.
The Marlins returned to action last week after their own outbreak that saw 18 players test positive.
MLB recently restructured the schedule with an abundance of doubleheaders in order to get each team to 60 games by the end of the regular season, but now further adjustments may be necessary.