Baseball lost one of its marquee players Friday when San Francisco catcher Buster Posey opted out of the 2020 season because of family health concerns, but results of the initial screening for the coronavirus fueled optimism that the sport will be able to launch a pandemic-shortened 60-game season on July 23.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Assn. announced that of the 3,748 total samples taken during the intake screening of players and staff upon arrival to training camp, 66 — or 1.8% — were positive for COVID-19.
Of the 66 positives, 58 were players and eight were staff members. Of the 30 teams, 27 had individuals who tested positive.
With the intake process complete, baseball has moved to the monitoring testing phase of the health-and-safety protocols, in which Tier 1 individuals — primarily players, coaches and key front-office personnel — will be tested every other day and Tier 2 individuals (mostly support staff) will be tested multiple times a week.
Here's Buster Posey's statement today announcing he and his wife Kristen have adopted twins and also saying he will opt out of the 2020 baseball season. pic.twitter.com/vYcP0Nib27— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) July 10, 2020
As of Friday, baseball had collected and tested 7,401 samples under monitoring testing, 17 of which were new positives — 13 players and four staff members from 10 different clubs.
Of the 11,149 samples collected under the combined intake and monitoring testing since June 27, 83 samples, or 0.7%, were positive for the coronavirus — 71 players and 12 staff members from 28 different clubs.
Posey, the 33-year-old Giants veteran who helped the team win World Series championships in 2010, ’12 and ’14, announced he will opt out of this season because he and his wife Kristen have adopted identical twin girls that were recently born prematurely and are in neonatal intensive care.
A six-time All-Star and the 2012 National League most valuable player, Posey became the 11th major leaguer to opt out of the season, joining players such as Dodgers pitcher David Price and Colorado utility man Ian Desmons.
Posey will forfeit nearly $8 million in prorated salary this season. He has one year left on a nine-year, $167-million contract that is scheduled to pay him $21.4 million in 2021.
“After weighing it for a long time, talking to doctors, I just feel like in the current state that we are right now and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months at minimum, this ultimately wasn’t that difficult a decision for me,” Posey told Giants writers on a video conference call.
The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays will play two exhibition games at Fenway Park before baseball's delayed regular-season opener.
Toronto will visit Boston on July 21 and 22 before heading down to Tampa Bay for its opener. The Red Sox are scheduled to open at home against the Baltimore Orioles on July 24.