ST. LOUIS — The optimism the Cardinals had that there would be no more than two positive tests for COVID-19 among their players and staff was erased on Saturday when they received the results of the first of two more rounds of tests.
Everybody in the Cardinals traveling party underwent the two additional rounds of tests on Friday after the first positive cases were reported. According to a statement from Major League Baseball, the first of those rounds of tests found that one player and “multiple” staff members “may be positive.”
The team was still waiting for the result of the second round of tests, a saliva test, that were not expected until later in the day.
As a result, the Cardinals game against the Brewers was postponed for a second consecutive day. The two teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Sunday, but it would seem doubtful that those games will be played.
One veteran player on the Brewers, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, announced Saturday that he has decided to opt-out of the season.
The Cardinals did not plan to make any statements about the situation on Saturday, according to a team spokesman.
This is the latest in a series of positive tests in the major leagues in the last week which has cast doubts about the viability of completing the season.
The Cardinals became the third team in the last week to have multiple players test positive for coronavirus, leading to the postponement of multiple games. The first outbreak hit the Marlins, who have had more than a dozen players test positive, and it spread to the Phillies, their opponent when those players were tested. Of the positive tests among the Phillies, however, none involved players but were limited to staff members.
Neither team has played since last Monday. The Phillies, according to the MLB statement, are scheduled to resume their season on Monday while the Marlins will play their first game on Tuesday.
There were several national media reports on Saturday that baseball officials have instructed television partners to have alternate programming ready, to perhaps begin as early as next week, if the season is suspended or shut down.
As with the two positive tests on the Cardinals reported on Friday, the names of the other player and staff members who tested positive have not been released.
The two positive results announced on Friday were the result of tests administered on Wednesday in Minneapolis came back with two positive results. The players were told Friday to stay in their rooms at the team’s Milwaukee hotel, pending the results of the new rounds of tests, and were still confined to their rooms on Saturday.
Pitcher Austin Gomber tweeted a photo looking out his hotel window and said, “I wonder what it feels like out there.”
Players and staff reportedly were being tested again on Saturday.
It’s possible the Cardinals will be forced to spend several days in their hotel in Milwaukee and not play as scheduled on Monday and Tuesday in Detroit. They are scheduled to come back home on Wednesday night, also to play against the Tigers.