Baseball’s Return in Peril After World Series Champs Close Camp

The World Series champion Washington Nationals have shut down their spring training after just three days, and their players and front office are questioning the wisdom of baseball’s return to play.

In astatement Monday, General Manager Mike Rizzo said the team canceled its morning workout due to a delay in receiving test results from Major League Baseball’s lab. The Houston Astros, the Nationals’ opponent in last year’s World Series, also canceled workouts on Monday after test delays, the Athleticreported.

“Per MLB’s protocol, all players and staff were tested for Covid-19 on Friday, July 3rd,” read the statement. “Seventy-two hours later, we have yet to receive the results of those tests. We cannot have our players and staff work at risk.”

Two Nationals’ players, Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross, have already decided toskip playing the 2020 season. In a conversation with reporters Sunday, relief pitcher Sean Doolittle complained about the league’s slow response time in delivering testing results.

In recent days, some of baseball’s top players have started to voice concerns. On Friday, the game’s biggest star, Mike Trout, revealed he’sworried about playing in the midst of the pandemic with his wife pregnant with their first child. A day later, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and former Cy Young award winner David Price became the highest-profile player toskip the season.

— With assistance by Luke McGrath

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