An unidentified Washington Nationals player has tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the postponement of the team’s Opening Day home game against the New York Mets.
Team officials said they have not yet established a makeup date for Thursday’s game.
The Saturday and Sunday contests remain scheduled, but because multiple Nats players are sidelined because of their proximity to the individual, those games also are in doubt.
“Ongoing contract tracing involving members of the Nationals organization is the reason [for the postponement],” the team said in a statement.
General Manager Mike Rizzo said four other players and one staff member were placed in quarantine protocols after contract tracing determined they were in close contact with the person who tested positive.
“We’re still in the process of finding out exactly what their status is,” Rizzo stated. “We will certainly have some roster decisions to make, depending on how this all shakes out.”
According to ESPN, MLB’s health and safety protocols for 2021, the player who tested positive will be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days, receive appropriate care and monitoring from the club medical staff, and be cleared by baseball’s joint COVID-19 committee and the individual’s team physician after a mandatory cardiac evaluation and a determination that the individual no longer presents a risk of infection to others.
The Nationals are coming off a 26-34 season in which they tied with the Mets for last place in the National League East.
Teams played just 60 regular-season games during the 2020 campaign because of the pandemic, so 2021 marks the first full season since the Nats won the 2019 World Series.
The much-improved Mets and the talented Atlanta Braves are favorites to win the division in 2021. Led by Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and one of the game’s best pitching staffs, the Nats also are expected to contend.