MLB players are reporting this week as the second round of spring training, named “Summer Camp” by many, has begun. As part of the start of camp, every team is testing all of their players and will isolate any that have positive results for COVID-19. MLB has said that they will release the results of this testing, though will not name individual players or teams associated with positive tests.
The first round of this data was released earlier this afternoon.
MLB/PA announce first COVID-19 test results: Total number of positives 38, which is 1.2% of the 3,185 total samples tested.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 3, 2020
31 of these 38 positives are players and 7 are staff members. 19 clubs had 1 or more individuals test positive during intake testing.
While 38 positive tests is concerning, it’s also a small percentage of the players and staff. A small number is easier to contain for the time being. MLB still needs to be careful going forward, as a few positive tests can balloon quickly if not handled properly. For now, though, it’s a manageable start at camp.
MLB also released some data on antibody testing:
1st, just 0.7% of MLB employees tested positive for antibodies to COVID-19 in test run by Stanford. Now 1.2 pct from intake testing of Tier 1/2 personnel this week. Numbers are low so far for MLB. Camps are now running, travel for regular season to follow. But upbeat numbers.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 3, 2020
So, the early numbers say that a low percentage of MLB personnel have been affected. That’s good news for now, but it also means that everyone needs to careful as the season moves forward. It also means a lot of players and personnel are unprotected, so caution is necessary.
Overall, 19 of the 30 teams did have someone test positive. While specific teams were not named, the Brewers did announce last week that a few people in the organization had tested positive (though they also did not name anyone specifically). We likely won’t know who those players are unless those affected agree to disclose that information.
Per the safety protocols agreed to during the negotiations, testing will be done every other day, as well as antibody testing monthly. In addition, regular wellness checks will be done, which will include temperature testing twice a day. Teams are committed to making this as safe as possible, though there still will be risk as the season goes forward.
For now, a few positive tests is concerning, but MLB isn’t going to stop the season due to them. Reports of a few positive tests here and there may be regular news for a while. It’s not the random individual tests that is the concern for now. It’s what will happen when (or if) many test positive at the same time.