MILWAUKEE — While Milwaukee Brewers players spent an unexpected day off settling into their own homes after Major League Baseball postponed the team's home opener Friday against St. Louis, Cardinals players spent the day holed up at a Downtown Milwaukee hotel, undergoing further testing and contact tracing following two positive COVID-19 tests.
"The team is currently conducting rapid testing of the entire traveling party, has implemented contact tracing, and will continue to self-isolate," a team statement said.
For now, the teams are planning to resume their series as scheduled Saturday evening with a double-header to follow Sunday afternoon.
That, of course, is subject to change pending the results of additional testing. The positive results that triggered Friday's events came as a result of testing performed Wednesday, when the Cardinals wrapped up a two-game series against the Twins in Minnesota.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals players and staff underwent two rounds of testing Friday. Any positive results from the first test — a rapid-response test performed by the Medical College of Wisconsin — and the second would require that person to undergo a second test, the standard saliva test outlined in MLB's health and safety guidelines, which is processed by a lab in Utah.
While waiting for the results of those tests, the two unidentified players who tested positive underwent contract tracing to make sure any potential spread is limited.
"We’re hopeful we get results by either tonight or first thing tomorrow morning, and that way we have a little more clarity on what we look like for tomorrow," Cardinals president of baseball operations told members of the St. Louis media during a video conference Friday. "We will also really assess through our tracing program just to understand if we have concerns and how to manage that. We have a lot of balls up in the air. It’s obviously creating a lot of anxiety here. We understand the importance of trying to get back on the field, but we recognize the importance of player and staff safety as well."
By making an early decision to postpone Friday's game, the Cardinals hoped to avoid the scenario that developed when the Miami Marlins went ahead with their game at Philadelphia last Sunday after three players tested positive that morning. That quickly turned into a full-blown outbreak with as many as 17 positive cases leading the Marlins and Phillies to be idled for an entire week while shaking up the schedule for five other teams in the process.
Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns agreed with the decision in a statement released by the team following the announcement.
"We are supportive of Major League Baseball's decision to postpone today's game and look forward to playing our home opener as soon as conditions safely allow," Stearns said. "The health and safety of our players and employees are, and will continue to be, our top priorities."
Under baseball's COVID-19 protocol, players may not return to their teams until receiving two consecutive negative tests in a 24-hour span. To help teams cover any absences, and to cut down on potential exposure from commercial travel, a three-player taxi squad is allowed for all road trips this season.
According to the Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals currently have only one player on their taxi squad.
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