The Phillies’ schedule is expected to change again as the team will likely play the Yankees next week instead of the Marlins.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday that the plan is for the Phillies and Yankees to play on Monday and Tuesday in New York before playing on Wednesday and Thursday in Philadelphia. The Phillies were scheduled to begin a three-game series in Miami on Tuesday, but teams appear wary of traveling to Miami following the area’s classification as a COVID-19 hotspot and the team’s own coronavirus outbreak.
“I know that the league is on top of that very issue about the safety of teams going into Miami right now,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. “They’re working on it. We are open to the fact that our schedule might be adjusted next week.”
The Phillies were scheduled to play four games this week against the Yankees — two at home and two on the road — before Major League Baseball postponed them “out of an abundance of caution” following the Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak.
Next week’s schedule switch will still leave the Phillies with three games to make up if they are to complete a 60-game schedule. Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday that he would be open to using winning percentage to determine playoff teams if teams are unable to play 60 games.
“All I can do is share with you what we have shared with our players from the beginning of camp until now,” Klentak said. “We know that this season is going to be different. We know that it is going to present a variety of challenges and all of us across the league are going to try to do our best to A. Keep the players and staff healthy and safe – that’s the first priority — and B. Play as many games as possible for our fans. That is really the twofold goal, and if that comes with some competitive imbalances that is just something we are going to have to live with.”
A seven-inning doubleheader?
Saturday’s doubleheader with Toronto could consist of two seven-inning games as Major League Baseball is discussing rule changes that would make playing two games in one day less taxing during a compacted season.
“Whether they go anywhere or not I don’t know yet,” Klentak said.
Price cleared to return
Phillies pitching coach Bryan Price was cleared to return to the team after missing Saturday and Sunday’s games because of coronavirus protocols. Price did not test positive for COVID-19 but stayed away from the team as a precaution because he did not feel well.
“In a typical season it may not have been something to keep him away from the ballpark,” Klentak said. “Him understanding what’s going on in our sport right now — I think he did the right thing for the team by reporting his symptom by staying home, by getting tested and making sure he didn’t impact someone else. He’s been feeling fine from the next day on but he stayed away and has been a good team player about it. He should be back with no problems.”
The Phillies have not had a player or staff member test positive for COVID-19 since the initial intake screenings at the start of summer camp.
“In some respects, having gone through our own outbreak in Clearwater in June, that may have helped us to prepare for what’s going on now,” Klentak said. “We had the opportunity up close to see how quickly something can spread and begin to implement some of these more restrictive protocols a little bit earlier. I don’t know what the alternative would be. But, in some ways, I think we maybe had a little bit of a head start on preparing for this. "