Scott Kingery, Tommy Hunter and Mikie Mahtook have been absent from the first days of summer camp after the three Phillies players tested positive for COVID-19, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said.
Kingery and Hunter tested positive before camp started while Mahtook reported to Philadelphia last week and tested positive during his intake screening. The Phillies are also without three of their 13 major-league coaches: bench coach Rob Thomson, bullpen coach Jim Gott, and catching coach Greg Brodzinski. The three coaches were infected last month during the outbreak at the team’s Clearwater, Fla. facility.
Kingery was projected to be the team’s starting second baseman and Hunter was the lone major-league free agents signed to the bullpen. Mahtook, a utility player, was in camp as a non-roster player on a minor-league deal.
“I think the best way I can answer that is that both of those guys are feeling very good right now, which is obviously the most important thing,” Klentak said when asked if Kingery and Hunter would be ready for the season opener on July 24. “They still have to pass consecutive tests and follow the rest of the protocols before they return, but I think the fact that they’re both feeling good bodes well for their time frames. Beyond that, I really couldn’t speculate about any return date just because we know that the time it takes to return can vary depending on the details of the protocols.”
The Phillies added Brodzinski, a 28-year-old former minor-league catcher from South Jersey, to their staff over the offseason. Thomson, 56, and Gott, 60, joined the Phillies in 2018 as part of Gabe Kapler’s coaching staff. Their ages put them near the threshold of being considered at-risk and Klentak said the team would support them if they opted out. But both coaches, Klentak said, are “itching to get back.”
“We’re not forcing anybody to come back,” Klentak said. “We absolutely understand whether it’s players or staff that everybody’s situation is different. Everybody’s health history is different. Everybody’s family situation is different. We want everybody to feel comfortable making the best decision for themselves without any interference or pressure from the organization.”