Nationals cancel practice after not getting COVID-19 test results

(Reuters) - The Washington Nationals cancelled their scheduled training on Monday after not receiving the results from COVID-19 testing, the Major League Baseball club said.

The World Series champions were tested for the novel coronavirus on Friday but said in a statement that 72 hours later they were still waiting for results.

“We cannot have our players and staff work at risk,” Mike Rizzo, Nationals general manager and president of baseball operations said in a statement. “Therefore, we have cancelled our team workout scheduled for this morning.

“We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families.

“Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp.

“Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”

Shutdown since mid-March by the coronavirus outbreak, MLB has struggled to start the season.

MLB and its players’ association agreed in late June to a shortened, 60-game 2020 campaign that would begin on either July 23 or 24 with no fans in attendance.

The league said on Friday that 31 players had tested positive for COVID-19.

In addition to the players, seven staff members have also tested positive, MLB said revealing the results from its first set of mandatory tests.

The combined 38 positive tests equated to 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected.

According to MLB, 19 of its 30 clubs had one or more individuals test positive. The names of the individuals who tested positive and the affected teams were not revealed.

Several players, including nationals veteran infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross, have opted to sit out the shortened season over health concerns related to COVID-19.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris