The Marlins had their 18th player test positive for the coronavirus on Friday and are planning to return their infected players and coaches to Miami by bus after five days of isolation in Philadelphia.
The Marlins, as first reported by ESPN and confirmed by the city Department of Public Health, will transport their 18 infected players and two infected coaches in sleeper buses for the nearly 1,200-mile trip from their Center City hotel to Miami. The rest of the team will remain in Philadelphia for the weekend, conduct daily coronavirus testing, and wait to see where and when their next game will be played.
The health department worked this week with the Marlins on contact tracing and said no new COVID-positive cases “have been positively linked to the Marlins.”
Miami has not played since Sunday, when the Marlins played the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park after learning that four players in three days had tested positive for COVID-19. The Marlins canceled their flight home that night and have since remained isolated at The Rittenhouse Hotel.
In accordance with MLB’s safety protocols, the Marlins relocated each infected individual to a different hotel following their positive tests in order to separate them from the rest of the group.
Both teams’ schedules have since been paused as the Phillies, too, have conducted daily coronavirus testing to monitor the fallout from their three games with the Marlins. The Phillies have had three employees -- a coach and two clubhouse staffers -- test positive this week, but all players have tested negative.
Major League Baseball postponed Marlins games through Sunday and their next scheduled game is Tuesday in Miami against the Phillies. That game remains unlikely to be played.
The Phillies had instead planned to play four straight games against the Yankees beginning Monday, but their season was paused indefinitely on Thursday after two employees tested positive. The Phillies said activity at Citizens Bank Park, including practices and workouts, has been “suspended until further notice.”
The Marlins have spent the week making waiver claims and signing veteran free agents as they add reinforcements to a roster ravaged by the coronavirus. Despite being isolated, the Marlins are at least acting like a team that will soon have to field a team. But they might also have to replace players who decide to opt out. The Miami Herald reported Friday that Isan Diaz, a 24-year-old second baseman, would opt out if he had to make the choice now.