Two White Sox players test positive for coronavirus
On Saturday manager Rick Renteria was hopeful, but realistic, about White Sox players and the coronavirus.
"We've talked to our players in terms of being mindful as to what they're doing away from the ballpark, what they're exposing themselves to," Renteria said. "The protocol is to try to mitigate, obviously, infection. It'd be truly foolish for me to say that it won't happen, but we're going to try and help it not happen. That's all we can do. "
A day later, the White Sox announced two players tested positive for COVID-19 during last week's testing that also included on-field staff and front-office members.
Both players have requested privacy, so the Sox were unable to comment.
They are also asymptomatic and have been isolated in Chicago under monitoring by the White Sox's medical staff.
It is important to note the two players were tested for the coronavirus during the intake process last week. They were never at Guaranteed Rate Field for any baseball activity.
In preparation for the upcoming 60-game regular season, the Sox started training camp at GRF on Friday.
The White Sox on Sunday also said contact tracing was conducted and that the two players will receive follow-up testing in the coming days. They can return to baseball workouts once they have recorded consecutive negative tests and passed appropriate COVID-19 protocols.
"The health of our players and staff is our top priority, and the White Sox are adhering to all MLB health and safety protocols," the team said in a statement Sunday morning.
On a Zoom call after the announcement, Sox first baseman Jose Abreu said he was unaware of the two positive tests.
"I don't know who they are," Abreu said through team translator Billy Russo. "I just wish for both of those guys a good and fast recovery. We're going to be here waiting for them. We support them."
The Nationals and Pirates also announced two players tested positive Sunday. They did not request privacy.
Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton was given the green light to say pitcher Blake Cederlind and outfielder Socrates Brito are COVID-19 positive.
"Very much appreciated," Shelton told reporters on a Zoom call. "I very much respect the other people that we have who don't feel that it's necessary to talk about but I think it is (important) for people to realize that it is real in the game."
St. Louis said third baseman Elehuris Montero tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday, a day after announcing the same news of pitchers Ricardo Sanchez and Genesis Cabrera.
Big-name players like the Dodgers' David Price, the Rockies' Ian Desmond, the Mariners' Felix Hernandez and the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman have opted out of the season, and more are sure to follow.
White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon, who made 7 starts last year before having Tommy John surgery on May 15 and missing the rest of the season, is back and ready to play.
"I never considered (opting out)," Rodon said. "Me being a big competitor, the whole time I wanted to play if they gave us the chance, which they have. So hopefully we can get through this modified spring training and start up July 24, I think is the date. I never once thought about opting out."
There is growing doubt the short season will be able to launch later this month, but Abreu remains hopeful.
"It's really a very difficult time for all of us with all this happening with the virus," said Abreu, who led the American League with 123 RBI last season. "I think each one of us have to make conscious decisions and try to make the right decisions in every moment because it is a very difficult time and we don't know what we're facing.
"In God's hands, everything is going to be good. That's what we're hoping for. Everything is going to be good and God is going to protect us. Just do the best that we can in this situation."