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Rob Manfred sees path back for Cardinals to be 'credible,' but 60 games is 'difficult'

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The St. Louis Cardinals have already sat out a quarter of their schedule while dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks and it’s unlikely they’d be able to make all of those games up.

But how many games are necessary for a team to play and is there a minimum number in mind for MLB? Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t lay out a plan or a number, but does “absolutely see a path back for the Cardinals” to resume play and have a “credible” schedule.

Manfred: Possible to play ‘credible’ schedule

There have already been 15 Cardinals games postponed, meaning one-quarter of their season is already out. It would be “difficult,” Manfred said, to play the remaining 55 games of a 60-game season in the 44 days left.

Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“I think whether you get all the way to 60 or not, that’s difficult at this point,” Manfred said. “I think that they are going to play. I think it’s possible for them to play enough games to be credible, to be a credible competitor this season.”

He did not define a threshold of minimum games.

Teams that do not complete 60 games will have their winning percentage used to determined postseason berths and seedings. The Cardinals are 2-3 whereas the Chicago Cubs lead the NL Central at 10-3. Two teams in the division have completed 16 games already.

The Cardinals are tentatively scheduled to return to the field on Friday against the Chicago White Sox.

Manfred: ‘I think Cardinals will be back’

Rob Manfred in a black suit jacket, striped collared shirt, in front of an MLB backdrop.
Rob Manfred 'absolutely' sees a path back for the St. Louis Cardinals. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Miami Marlins were the first to have a COVID-19 outbreak, but missed only six regularly scheduled games from July 26 to Aug. 4.

The Cardinals were initially cleared to resume play after going two days without a new positive test following the initial outbreak. Then there were three new positive tests and games were postponed again. A total of 16 members of the team have tested positive and some have gone to the hospital.

Manfred was asked if a continued absence by one team would lead to MLB removing the team for the rest of the season.

“I have avoided hypotheticals, in general,” he said. “The only thing I would say to you is as long as you have 29 clubs where you’re not having positives, and you don’t feel like you don’t have a risk of cross-contagion, which you don’t as long as one is not playing, I think it would be surprising to make the decision that you’re going to shut down the other 29 because you have a continuing problem with one. That doesn’t seem like the right decision to make.

“But I’m not confronted with that right now,” he concluded. “Right now, we think the Cardinals are going to be back.”

When the Cardinals are ready to resume play, they’ll need at least a few practices to get back into physical activities after quarantine. It’s been two weeks since the team has last played an opponent, and three weeks for some of the pitchers. Manfred said the Cardinals might turn to the players at their alternate site to step in.

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