The Miami Marlins baseball team is delaying its return to Florida after four players tested positive for the coronavirus, ESPN reported early Monday.
The players possibly were infected Wednesday when the team traveled to and from Atlanta, where they played the Braves in an exhibition game, and the Marlins have been in Philadelphia through the weekend for the team’s opening series of the season, ESPN reported.
Sunday’s starter Jose Urena is among the players that tested positive for the coronavirus, ESPN reported, citing unnamed sources. Urena had reportedly been scheduled to start Sunday but was scratched before the game without the team giving a reason.
The team will also be without catcher Jorge Alfraro, who was placed on the injured list before the teams’ season opener on Friday, infielder Garrett Cooper and outfielder Harold Ramirez, according to ESPN.
Manager Don Mattingly told The Associated Press the team decided to wait until Monday to leave Philadelphia and they plan to arrive in Miami hours before their home opener against Baltimore, possibly having some players remain in Philadelphia.
“The guys that tested positive are quarantined here in Philly,'' Mattingly said, according to AP.
"We were more comfortable flying as a group later,'' Mattingly reportedly said, regarding the decision to postpone the flight home. "We're talking about these guys traveling back home to their families and their kids, and it's the reason we want to be safe.''
Mattingly declined to say whether he thought the Marlins’ health issues were related to the Atlanta stop. He told the newswire he will be happy to return to Miami, even as the city is a hot spot for the coronavirus outbreak.
“It feels safer in Miami than anywhere,” Mattingly said. “You feel safe at the ballpark; I feel safe with my surroundings going home. It’s a lot scarier on the road.”