By the time the Phillies take the field again for a regular season game, it will have been over a week since their last action.
Since a COVID-19 outbreak occurred within the Marlins roster, no Phillies have tested positive. Two clubhouse staff members and an unnamed coach both did earlier in the week, leading to the Phillies having to isolate and not practice multiple days during the past week. On Saturday, it was reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan that two of the cases, including the coach, were false positives.
In a zoom press conference on Saturday, manager Joe Girardi expressed some concern regarding his players’ inability to practice consistently throughout the past week.
“You know, we had two days completely off. We had a practice and then we had two days where guys were supposed to stay you know, basically in the rooms, quarantine and then we had another practice today,”, Girardi said. “So we just got to make sure our guys are prepared to play on Monday and physically they’re ready to go. And that’s my biggest concern.”
There have been reports that the Marlins did not follow precautions the week before the season when they were playing exhibition games in Atlanta, and that their carelessness led to the outbreak within the clubhouse and, thus, the Phillies inability to play for the past week.
Despite this, though, Girardi said he is not upset at the Marlins for what happened.
“They had one player had it, and they traveled and they run buses and planes and no one knew, right? So, for me to judge, you know, I could walk in one day and have COVID here and not know it and spread it around”, Girardi remarked. “I’m not upset with the Marlins. I’m thinking about how their lives have been turned upside down.”
Several players opted out of the season before it began, and the recent positive cases on the Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals have shown the danger of COVID-19 spreading in the clubhouse. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain opted out of the season on Saturday, and Girardi said that while he supports a player’s ability to make that call, he has not heard that any Phillies plan to opt out.
“I think chatter I hear is guys, like let’s go ready to go. Let’s go. Let’s go. So that’s the chatter I’ve heard so far”, Girardi said. “Again, if a player you know chooses to opt out, I fully support him because to play this game is hard enough. And if your mind has concerns other places, it’s really gonna be hard.”
Part of the struggle that MLB has had during this pandemic is that they are not playing in a localized bubble. This becomes increasingly difficult with rising hotspots throughout the country, which is especially true right now in the South.
Girardi does not think that teams playing in these hotspots should play their home games elsewhere, though, citing the universal spread throughout the entirety of the United States.
“You know, I think our country it’s, it’s spreading at a, you know, alarming rate”, Girardi mentioned. “So I don’t know, if you move somewhere for a week are you gonna have to move three days later again? Because now all of a sudden there’s 10 to 15,000 cases a day in that state?”
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