(Reuters) - Major League Baseball’s coronavirus-delayed season hit a serious snag less than a week after it began as it postponed games scheduled for Monday in Miami and Philadelphia due to COVID-19 related concerns.
The Miami Marlins, who opened their season Friday in Philadelphia, were scheduled to return home on Sunday ahead of their scheduled Monday home opener but put off traveling after a number of their players tested positive for the virus.
The Philadelphia Phillies were scheduled to host the New York Yankees on Monday but that game also was postponed as the Marlins players were recently in their stadium.
MLB said in a news release the games were postponed while it “conducts additional COVID-19 testing” and that members of the Marlins team traveling party were self-quarantining in place while the league awaits the results. COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic has played havoc with professional sports worldwide, delaying the start of seasons, forcing the cancellation or postponement of major events, pushing the Summer Olympics back by a year and leading to major questions about health risks for athletes and others.
According to an ESPN report, eight Miami players and two coaches tested positive after the latest round of testing on Sunday. That came after four Marlins players received positive test results during the team’s trip to Philadelphia.
Prior to their season opener, the Marlins were in Atlanta last Tuesday and Wednesday for exhibition games.
Unlike the National Basketball Association, which has assembled its teams in a restricted campus at Disney World in Florida, MLB teams are playing in their usual stadiums and following a schedule designed to limit travel.
According to MLB’s operations manual for the coronavirus-delayed season, team members who test positive must have two negative tests taken at least 24 hours apart before they are allowed to return to team facilities.
MLB had originally planned to open its 162-game regular season in late March but decided to postpone it because of the health threat posed by the pandemic, eventually opting for a condensed 60-game schedule that kicked off last Thursday.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Alison Williams and Will Dunham
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