Just when it seemed things were setting down in St. Louis, Lane Thomas has tested positive for COVID-19, the Cardinals announced Sunday. That brings the total number of positive cases on the Cardinals to 17 — 7 staff members and 10 players.
The Cardinals haven’t played a game since falling to the Twins in Minnesota back on July 29. This week’s three-game series between St. Louis and Pittsburgh has already been postponed, and it’s unclear whether the Cardinals will be allowed to travel to Detroit for a scheduled doubleheader on Thursday. Furthermore, their weekend series in Chicago vs the White Sox is in jeopardy.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said that several members of the club have been admitted to the emergency room after a COVID-19 outbreak infected nine players and seven staff members prior to Thomas’s test results.
“By and large, people are in a pretty good spot,” Shildt said Sunday in a radio interview on KMOX/1120 AM. “There are people that have symptoms and have had a few visits to the ER for some IVs and a little more clarity. Nobody has had to stay. But there are people dealing with – I mean, this is real. And people are experiencing a lot of the symptoms that we hear about, that are associated with this.”
Shildt added that some members are experiencing multiple symptoms, though he declined to specify which ones. “Seems like they rotate with them,” Shildt continued. “And again, nobody is in close to any critical shape, but people are having to deal with some things that aren’t comfortable at all. And hopefully we can get that behind them. They’re getting great care.”
The Cardinals had been quarantining in Milwaukee after the first wave of positive tests. Then, after they saw two consecutive days of negative tests, the team flew to St. Louis and resumed workouts, only to have the virus resurface with more positive tests.
The Cardinals then went back into self-isolation and have remained there since. “I don’t know what our future looks like at this point,’’ Cardinals president John Mozeliak said recently. “For all of the optimism we had a couple days ago, it’s frustrating for everyone involved. …”I haven’t slept in days.’”
Along with Lane Thomas, 9 of the 17 individuals who tested positive have given their consent to be identified: All-Stars Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong; infielders Rangel Ravelo and Edmundo Sosa; outfielders Thomas and Austin Dean; and relievers Kodi Whitley, Junior Fernández and Helsley.
“Right now, you look at having 10 players out,” Mozeliak said. “But we’re out long enough we might get a couple players back. So, who knows? Again, day by day.”
The number of games the Cardinals will now have missed is up to 13 and spans two weeks. The Cardinals have had two days on the field in the past 10, a scenario presenting its own injury-risk scenarios. If the Cardinals — who have played an MLB-low 5 games — play all 60 games in this shortened season, they will have to play 55 games in 46 days, at most.
“In terms of when are we going to get back on the field and get back to baseball, I just don’t know,” Mozeliak said. “We’ll allow a few days to come and go and then we’ll reassess. … It’s a bummer. But not having experience on how to truly isolate it and prevent it from spreading, we’re learning as we go. So, I wish I had better answers. I wish I had something firm. But I don’t at this time.”
St. Louis is 2-3 on the season and are falling far behind the pack of MLB teams who’ve played as many as 17 games and as few as 10 games. Even the Miami Marlins who dealt with a larger outbreak of their own has played 10 games.
As we enter the 3rd week of the season, that began on July 23rd, the Cardinals are going to be very hard-pressed to compete & complete their 60-games. With all the schedule changes recently implemented by MLB, it’s going to be nearly impossible for the Cardinals to play 55 games in the remaining 46 days.
This is the 2nd major outbreak within an MLB organization. If & when there’s a 3rd, I can’t see how the season can continue under these circumstances. Aside from the scheduling conflicts not being fair on a competing level, there’s also the extended layoffs.
The thought and attempts of trying to finish out this bizarre shortened season during the pandemic outside a bubble, might not be worth it. I love baseball, but not like this. One has to wonder if & when MLB considers the Coronavirus spread isn’t going away anytime soon and they either need to bubble-up or shut it down entirely.
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