Ahead of wrapping their season series with the Angels on Monday afternoon, there is some question as to whether the Mariners will be playing baseball Tuesday evening against the Oakland A’s to open a six-game homestand.
Sunday morning, roughly four hours before the A’s scheduled game at Houston, Major League Baseball announced that a member of the A’s organization had tested positive for COVID-19 and the game “has been postponed out of an abundance of caution and to allow for additional testing and contact tracing to be conducted.”
According to a news release from the A’s, they conducted testing and contact tracing for all members of their traveling party Sunday morning and will remain in self-isolation in their hotel in Houston for at least the next 24 hours.
Multiple MLB sources have said the Mariners already have been discussing what will happen if the game Tuesday is postponed or if multiple games of the series are postponed.
In a video conference call with reporters, A’s general manager David Forst said the team was notified of the positive test at 10 p.m. Saturday after playing a doubleheader at Minute Maid Park, which was due to weather postponements earlier in the week. The positive test came from a group of saliva samples taken Friday.
The A’s hope to get the results of the tests Sunday morning by Monday morning to find out whether it is an isolated positive test and the rest of the team can travel to Seattle.
“Anything beyond today, we’re not going to speculate on,” Forst told reporters. “Ultimately, we need to see if this is an isolated infection or a larger issue. The only way to do that is to be patient and make sure everybody isolates at the hotel today. We’ll wait until tomorrow to figure out tomorrow.”
Ultimately, MLB will dictate whether or not the game Tuesday at T-Mobile Park will be played. The league has been very cautious about playing games following positive COVID tests, particularly teams with multiple positive tests.
“They do have experience with this,” Forst said. “The Reds and the Mets each recently had positive tests, and in both cases, they were able to identify it, isolate people, step back and allow the protocols to be effective. Considering the success in those two scenarios, we’re going to take all our cues from (commissioner Rob Manfred’s) office and hopefully have the same result. But it’s too soon to know whether this is isolated or has been more spread.”
This is the last home series with the A’s for the Mariners, but Seattle does close out the 2020 season with a three-game series in Oakland. So if multiple games were postponed, there are some options for making up the games.
The Mariners made a series of roster moves before the game Sunday, shuffling a fresh arm — right-hander Seth Frankoff — into the bullpen and sending struggling reliever Zac Grotz back to the taxi squad.
The Mariners recalled catcher Joe Hudson, who was on the traveling squad, from the alternate training site and optioned outfielder Braden Bishop back to the alternate training site. Bishop will remain on the taxi squad for the rest of this trip.
- Mike Trout went 3 for 4 with a homer and six RBI in the Angels’ 16-3 trouncing of the Mariners on Saturday. It was a typical Trout performance against Seattle.
For the perennial MVP candidate, it was his 162nd game (161 starts) against the Mariners in his brilliant career — the equivalent an entire season. In those games, he has posted a .329/.431/.661 slash line* with 191 hits, 35 doubles, 10 triples, 46 homers, 119 RBI, 15 stolen bases, 102 walks (24 intentional) and 145 strikeouts.
That’s pretty good.
- Rookie right-hander Ljay Newsome will remain in Taijuan Walker’s vacated spot in the starting rotation. Newsome filled in that start when Walker was traded to the Blue Jays.
Seattle manager Scott Servais informed the laid-back Newsome on Saturday.
“He’s earned it,” Servais said during a pregame video call. “He did a really nice job against a good Padres lineup the other day. We’ll fire him out there. Nothing really phases Ljay. Like I told him when he was starting the other day, I said, ‘Are you OK with that?’ And he says, ‘I suppose.’ He’s just like, ‘Tell me when I’m pitching, and I’m good to go.’ It’ll be a good challenge for him.”
Editor’s note: The Times declined to send reporter Ryan Divish to Anaheim for this game because of COVID-19 safety concerns.
*batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage.