MLB has announced the results of its first coronavirus tests, and they’re fairly encouraging. According to a joint press release from MLB and its players association, a combined 38 players and staff tested positive for COVID-19 out of 3,185 collected samples. That computes to a positive test rate of 1.2 percent, well below the current national average (8.7 percent).
Of the 38 positive tests, 31 belonged to players while the other seven came from staff members. No specific coaches or players were named in the league’s press release Friday, though Indians outfielder Delino Deshields and Brett Martin of the Texas Rangers are both known to have the virus. Each are in quarantine and experiencing only mild symptoms. Martin, who compiled a 4.76 ERA across 51 appearances including two starts as a rookie last year, carries a “high risk” designation due to his Type 1 diabetes. It’s unclear if Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been absent from Red Sox training camp after being exposed to someone with COVID-19, was among the 38 positives.
All things considered, the league's first batch of test results went about as well as MLB could have hoped. The NBA announced Thursday that 25 of its 351 players (that excludes players from the eight teams that didn’t qualify for Orlando) received positive test results. Meanwhile, just 10 of the NBA's 884 staff members (1.1 percent) came back positive. Even with COVID cases rising across the country, the dormant NBA, NHL and MLB are each expected to resume their seasons later this month.
Teams returning to the field this week have taken unprecedented measures to combat the virus. Rather than congregate in a germ-ridden clubhouse, Red Sox players have been storing their equipment in Fenway Park’s vacant luxury suites. Teams had previously planned to hold training camps in Florida and Arizona but later balked after both states experienced a steep rise in positive tests.
Barring a setback, MLB will stage its Opening Day on July 23 with the Washington Nationals beginning their title defense at home against the high-powered New York Yankees.