What's next? Phillies sit and wait after COVID-19 outbreak

Phillies dealing with fallout from Marlins COVID-19 outbreak
As concern swirls around the immediate future of the Phillies and baseball in general, one has to examine the reasoning behind the Phils and Marlins moving forward with their series final at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.

The Marlins shared information with the Phillies hours before Sunday's first pitch about a possible COVID-19 outbreak in their clubhouse, but no one truly knew the severity of the situation. Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas told reporters afterward that the players discussed things and elected to move forward with playing.

Marlins skipper Don Mattingly supported the decision and said his club never seriously considered not playing on Sunday.

Twenty-four hours later, we now know of at least 14 members of the Miami traveling party to have tested positive for COVID-19.

It's the scary reality of playing professional sports amid a global pandemic.

Bryce Harper wore a mask when he ran the bases, and Rhys Hoskins wore a mask when he played first base.

The Phillies now wait while the Marlins remain quarantined at a Center City Philadelphia hotel. Several employees that worked in the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park are in quarantine.

Phillies players were to be tested at Citizens Bank Park on Monday afternoon, according to sources. Major League Baseball has stepped in to postpone tonight's series opener between the Phillies and Yankees, and it's unclear if Tuesday's game will go on as scheduled. The Phillies need to wait for test results.

The Phillies reasonably could escape this hellish scenario without a positive test, but if nothing else, the situation highlights the complexities of baseball in 2020.

One particular concern is that of Didi Gregorius. The newly acquired shortstop has been sporting a mask since camp reconvened at Citizens Bank Park earlier this month. Gregorius, who has a kidney condition, is considered by Major League Baseball to be in a high-risk category, and that means something.

According to section 2.3.3 of MLB’s operations manual: “For at least 72 hours following confirmation of the positive test result, no High-Risk Individual may enter any area within a Club facility in which the Covered Individual who tested positive has recently spent time, without prior written approval from MLB’s medical advisors or the Joint Committee.”

There is no real telling right now where things will go with this COVID-19 outbreak and how it may impact the Phillies. Test results could arrive later tonight or tomorrow morning, but it is important to note that a possible COVID-19 infection may not induce a positive test until a week or so after contraction.

Suddenly, dropping two of three to the Marlins isn't the most important storyline of the weekend.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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