Washington Nationals superstar Juan Soto is currently isolating away from the team after coming into contact with a teammate who tested positive for COVID-19, the Washington Post's Jesse Dougherty reported Tuesday. Soto spent the MLB shutdown in the Dominican Republic.
Over the weekend Martinez confirmed two Nationals players tested positive for COVID-19 but did not reveal their identities. MLB and the MLBPA agree COVID-19 is a "non-work-related" injury and thus subject to the privacy guidelines in the collective bargaining agreement. Teams can only announce who tested positive for COVID-19 with the player's permission.
Players are isolated or placed on the COVID-19 injured list if they test positive, show symptoms, or come into contact with someone who has tested positive, as Soto did. To return to the field Soto must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart and be cleared by the league's medical panel, among other things.
The Nationals were among several teams to experience testing issues over the weekend. Test results are supposed to be available within 24 hours but the Nationals did not receive the results for Friday's tests until Monday. GM Mike Rizzo ripped MLB and the testing protocol after the team had to cancel Monday's workout.
"We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families," Rizzo said. "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."
Soto, 21, is young and presumably healthy, and thus at low risk of serious complications from COVID-19. He could potentially spread the virus to other team personnel (and others in the community), however, including people more at risk of major health issues. It's unclear when he will rejoin the Nationals.