The Philadelphia Phillies tested 32 additional players and staff members following a coronavirus outbreak at the team's spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida last week. On Monday, the team announced one player and two additional staff members in Clearwater tested positive for COVID-19. The team also said another player who had not been at the club's spring facility tested positive, bringing the total number of cases in the organization to 12 (seven players and five staff members).
Five Phillies players and three staff members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) last week, the team confirmed on Friday. The identities of those infected is unknown.
Soon after the Phillies announced the original eight cases Friday, the Toronto Blue Jays closed their Dunedin, Florida. spring training facility after a pitcher on the 40-man roster began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The pitcher had recently spent time with players in the Phillies' minor league system, and Toronto's spring complex in Dunedin is 2.4 miles apart from the Phillies' Clearwater facility. .
The Phillies released the following statement Friday:
Phillies are confirming that five players and three staff members working at the club's Clearwater facility have tested positive for COVID-19. The first confirmed case occurred this past Tuesday, June 16. In addition, eight staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests.
Managing Partner John Middleton said, "The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected."
In terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies' 2020 season, the club declines comment, believing that it is too early to know.
Want unique sports takes from a former front office executive's perspective? Listen below and be sure to subscribe to the Nothing Personal with David Samson podcast for the truth behind sports biggest stories.
In addition, the San Francisco Giants have shut down their training facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. Per Andrew Baggarly, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the decision was made "after one person who had been in the facility and one family member exhibited mild symptoms and were tested."
The Astros on Friday also announced that a player at their Palm Beach, Florida facilities tested positive "several days ago" and is recovering after experiencing mild symptoms.
In Florida -- where the state's reopening process has started -- the daily total of coronavirus cases is rising with the state's hospitalization count nearly doubling since May 4. Clearwater is in Pinellas County, which had record-high single-day case numbers, with 203 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Cases have also surged in Arizona recently.
The COVID-19 outbreak comes with negotiations between MLB and the Players Association at their end. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday night that he is planning to implement a 2020 season, which could reportedly start July 24.