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Brandon Hyde: Orioles players remain in COVID-19 intake process, but team won’t publicize positive test results

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Saturday that a few players were still in the intake process for COVID-19 testing, which is required to get onto the field for summer camp workouts at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

However, the team won’t publicize whether there are any positive tests and won’t identify which players are still in the intake process, Hyde said.

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“At this point, we’re just not going to talk about it,” Hyde said. “Just hang tight for right now. I’ve just been directed that we’re not going to discuss it.”

Major League Baseball announced Friday that 31 players and seven staff members from 19 of the 30 clubs had positive tests in their intake programs. League policy, per multiple reports, is that teams can say whether they’ve had positive tests but it’s up to the player to decide whether he can be identified.

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Around baseball on Saturday, more teams announced positive tests for players, which requires a players’ consent to be publicized. The Atlanta Braves announced four players, including star first baseman Freddie Freeman. At Boston Red Sox camp, manager Ron Roenicke told reporters that pitcher Josh Taylor tested positive on intake and pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez tested positive before reporting. Later in the day, the Kansas City Royals announced catcher Salvador Perez had a positive COVID-19 test as well.

Orioles players reported for their initial intake testing on Wednesday and those who had negative tests were on the field Friday and Saturday, though some didn’t have test results back Friday, manager Brandon Hyde said.

Hyde said Friday that some players who had come in from the Dominican Republic were waiting for results, but new additions to the afternoon group of position players such as infielder Hanser Alberto and catcher Pedro Severino suggest they cleared that step.

Orioles pitchers are mostly working out in the morning and only ones who were scheduled to face hitters were present during the open portion of Friday’s and Saturday’s workouts.

MLB’s protocol calls for players and on-field staff to be tested every other day. Those pitchers who have worked out include Wade LeBlanc, Tommy Milone, Thomas Eshelman, Paul Fry, John Means, Ty Blach, David Hess, Richard Bleier, Branden Kline, Cody Carroll and Evan Phillips. The team posted a picture of pitcher Hunter Harvey from this weekend’s workouts on its social media pages.

The two open portions of Orioles camp Friday and Saturday featured position players taking live batting practice, infield drills, outfield work and baserunning. All four catchers and 11 infielders invited to camp were on the field at some point Saturday, as were outfielders Austin Hays and DJ Stewart.

Neither outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. nor Anthony Santander has participated on the field during the open portion of workouts Friday or Saturday.

Smith posted on social media that he was in Baltimore on Wednesday in announcing a charity fundraiser for the graduating class of his hometown high school back in Georgia.

Every player is screened for a fever and fills out a questionnaire daily before entering the ballpark, according to league protocols. Players and staff who interact with players directly are tested for COVID-19 every other day.

Around the horn

Hyde said they’ve considered everything from a five-man rotation and six-man rotation to openers and piggyback starters for when the season begins, but want to get the starting candidates built up to around six innings apiece before they make any decisions. … Hyde said the Orioles will begin intrasquad games this week and play as many as possible, and executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias is in the process of securing the maximum of three exhibition games against other clubs before the season begins on July 24.

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