Four Miami Marlins players have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Sunday’s starter, Jose Urena, according to sources familiar with the situation, leading the team to delay its postgame trip home amid concerns about a possible outbreak.
The Marlins will be without the services of Urena, catcher Jorge Alfaro, who was placed on the injured list before their season opener on Friday, infielder Garrett Cooper and outfielder Harold Ramirez. The news of the positive tests was first reported by baseball writer Robert Murray.
It’s possible that the infections occurred Wednesday on the team’s trip to and from Atlanta, where the Marlins played the Braves in an exhibition game. Since leaving Atlanta — after a flight delay — the Marlins have been in Philadelphia all weekend for the team’s opening series.
Manager Don Mattingly said the Marlins decided to wait until Monday to leave Philadelphia, and they plan to arrive in Miami hours before their home opener against Baltimore. The trip might be made while multiple players remain in Philadelphia.
“The guys that tested positive are quarantined here in Philly,” Mattingly said.
The Marlins’ decision to postpone their flight home was made with family members in mind.
“We were more comfortable flying as a group later,” Mattingly said. “We’re talking about these guys traveling back home to their families and their kids, and it’s the reason we want to be safe.”
Under MLB guidelines, the four players will be isolated from the team until they have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, show no symptoms for 72 hours and receive approval from team doctors.
Right-hander Robert Dugger started in Urena’s place Sunday. He did not get a decision as the Marlins outslugged the Phillies 11-6.
Some Marlins players texted about the team’s health issues before Sunday’s game, but there was no talk of declining to play, shortstop Miguel Rojas said.
“That was never our mentality,” Rojas said. “We knew this could happen at some point. We came to the ballpark ready to play.”
Mattingly declined to say whether he thinks the Marlins’ health issues were related to the Atlanta stop. He said he’ll be happy to return to Miami, even though it’s a hot spot for the pandemic.
“It feels safer in Miami than anywhere,” Mattingly said. “You feel safe at the ballpark. I feel safe with my surroundings going home. It’s a lot scarier on the road.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.