First baseman Chris Davis was out of the Orioles lineup for a second straight day Thursday, with manager Brandon Hyde again saying the team’s most veteran player was “unavailable” for the matchup with the New York Yankees. Hyde said he did not know when Davis would rejoin the team, but that Davis did work out with the team Tuesday night.
“Gonna leave it at that,” Hyde said.
The Orioles’ team policy is to not disclose the results of COVID-19 testing or whether players have tested positive, citing the chance of false-positive tests and noting that it’s personal medical information that a player can share if he chooses.
Hyde, however, discussed Davis’ absence and his inability to discuss it further both Wednesday and Thursday in the same way he has previous players who were absent for COVID-related reasons.
Previously, the only two Orioles to test positive were outfielders Dwight Smith Jr. and Anthony Santander, who registered positive tests upon arriving for summer camp July 1 and missed two weeks apiece after experiencing mild symptoms. Santander said Thursday he is continuing to progress into “full shape” after being absent the first two weeks of camp.
“Thank God I’m here, I’m healthy,” Santander said through team interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “I believe that little by little, I’ll be able to fully be in full shape. One day at a time, and hopefully, I can be there so that I can best help the team.”
Otherwise, the Orioles players spent the month of July praising the infrastructure in place to keep them safe while at the ballpark and stressing how strictly they were enforcing protocols to keep each other safe.
Baseball’s trouble seems to have come once teams began traveling for games last week. The Miami Marlins traveled for some exhibition games last week and had catcher Jorge Alfaro test positive for COVID-19 Friday, the first sign of an outbreak that spread to over half of their clubhouse by the middle of this week and forced baseball to sideline them for at least seven days.
Four of those games not played were scheduled to be played against the Orioles — two in Miami and two in Baltimore. The Orioles were waiting in Miami after flying there from Boston on Sunday night, only to return Monday evening when it became clear they wouldn’t be able to play the Marlins there.
“It’s definitely an unusual year, in every way,” Hyde said. “I think we’re very aware of what’s going on, not only in our sport, but everywhere else, also. It’s a main topic. We do talk about a lot of things. Players come in my office, we talk about things. I know guys are talking in the clubhouse about what’s going on around the league.
“We’re being overly flexible on what our day-to-day is like right now and just making adjustments every single day. But there’s a lot of things that are very important outside of baseball right now that we’re very aware of. We’re happy to be playing, but we do know what’s going on outside of our bubble.”
The ramifications of the outbreak extended further Thursday with Major League Baseball suspending the Philadelphia Phillies’ weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays after two Phillies staff members tested positive for the virus days after the team faced the Marlins. No Phillies players have tested positive, with 17 Marlins players reportedly testing positive thus far.
“It’s tough watching something like that,” Santander said. “Unfortunately, there were so many players involved, players that you’re familiar with, that you played against or have played with you in the minors. Hopefully, everybody gets well pretty soon, and hopefully, we can all take the right measures to try to avoid something like that happening again.”
Players worried about the scheduled series against the Marlins. Davis said “guys didn’t want to put themselves in harm’s way.”
The Orioles bused to the airport in Miami and flew home Monday night, then re-assembled for a workout Tuesday evening at Camden Yards, one which Davis participated in.
After the workout, Davis did a Zoom call with reporters in which he said the Marlins’ situation “kind of makes everybody raise an eyebrow” and reconsider what they do to keep themselves safe on and off the field.
He had planned on wearing a mask on the field to protect himself, he said Tuesday. Hyde said he was the only player unavailable for the game Wednesday.
“We definitely talk about it every single day as soon as you come to the ballpark, but the main conversation is, ‘Let’s all try to follow protocol. Let’s all try to take care of each other,’” Santander said. “It’s very important for all of us to wear the mask, for all of us to wear gloves. Once the game starts, it’s time to compete, time to beat the other team.”
Around the horn
Shortstop José Iglesias (left quad) was also out of the lineup after leaving Wednesday’s game early. … Hyde said Alex Cobb and Wade LeBlanc would start the first two games of the Orioles’ series against the Tampa Bay Rays, with the Sunday starter undetermined. … The Orioles optioned right-hander Cody Carroll to the alternate site in Bowie to activate left-hander John Means to start Thursday’s game. Hyde expected Means to be available for three or four innings.
Friday, 7:35 p.m.
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