Tagged in: outbreak

Washington Nationals to open season vs. Atlanta Braves on Tuesday

The Nationals will start their season on Tuesday by hosting the Atlanta Braves after Major League Baseball postponed Monday’s opener of the teams’ three-game series because of a coronavirus outbreak that involves 11 of Washington’s players.

Four Nationals players have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week and are isolating, while another seven are under quarantine because contact tracing determined they might have been exposed to the virus.

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said earlier Sunday that none of those 11 — a majority of whom, although not all, were supposed to be on the Opening Day roster — would be available if the three-game set with Atlanta start Monday.

Rizzo has not publicly identified any of the players involved or the two staff members who also have been placed under quarantine due to possible exposure.

Washington has yet to play this season; its opening three-game series at home versus the New York Mets on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday was postponed.

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“Believe me, we’re in constant contact with MLB,” Rizzo said in a video call with reporters Sunday afternoon, while he was still awaiting a decision about Monday’s game.

Rizzo has been adamant that Washington would need to be able to hold team workouts before facing an opponent.

Pitchers were able go to Nationals Park one by one on Saturday and Sunday to throw bullpen sessions.

“Position players haven’t worked out in a week. And pitchers haven’t thrown any competitive pitch in that same period of time. It’s something that we’re taking very seriously here. We’re thinking of creative ways under the protocol and under the guidance to get these guys as ready as possible,” Rizzo said.

“It makes a lot of sense for baseball, player protection-wise, to have these guys go through their paces in a full workout before we take the field,” he added.

The reigning National League East champion Braves are 0-3, coming off a season-opening sweep in which they managed to score a total of three runs at the Philadelphia Phillies.

Braves manager Brian Snitker stated Sunday afternoon — before MLB’s ruling arrived — that he was going to assume his club would be playing Monday until he heard otherwise.

“This is the COVID era. Everything’s fluid,” Snitker said.

The Nationals and Braves are now slated to face each other Tuesday and Wednesday. The 2019 World Series champions, who tied for last in the division last season, then would have Thursday off before heading out for a trip that is to start Friday at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

MLB did not announce when the first four games on Washington’s schedule will be made up.

Rizzo said the four players who tested positive are “feeling much, much better,” adding that any symptoms that appeared earlier have subsided.

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Serie A halted due to coronavirus outbreak

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Monday that Serie A is suspended indefinitely as the country continues to struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Play has been halted until at least April 3, according to the Italian national Olympic committee, as the country comes to a standstill over the outbreak of a disease that has spread to at least 97 countries. Italy on Monday also banned public gatherings and unnecessary travel for the entire nation.

“We’re having an important growth in infection… and of deaths,” he said.

“We all must give something up for the good of Italy. We have to do it now, and we’ll only be able if we all collaborate and adapt to these more stringent measures.

“This is why I decided to adopt even more strong and severe measures to contain the advance… and protect the health of all citizens.”

Italy’s top football division had resumed Sunday with five games played in empty stadiums.

Sassuolo hosted Brescia on Monday, also behind closed doors.

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Teams have either 12 or 13 games to play, with eight-time defending champion Juventus holding a one-point lead over Lazio; Serie A has not been canceled since World War II.

CONI said its decision did not include international competition “for clubs or national teams,” because it does not govern those. Juventus, Napoli and Atalanta are each competing in the Champions League, while Inter Milan and Roma are still in the Europa League.

Events around the world have been affected by the spreading virus, including Champions League matches and Japan’s professional baseball season. Late Sunday, one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world was postponed.

In France, police said that the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund at Parc des Princes will be played without fans.

It is the second of the four matches in the competition this week to be played in an empty stadium. Spanish authorities previously recommended restrictions on games involving teams from areas in Italy with high numbers of virus cases and said the Valencia-Atalanta match on Tuesday will take place without fans in attendance.

Leipzig’s match against Tottenham on Tuesday and Liverpool’s home game against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday are expected to be played with fans.

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