Miller Park in Milwaukee was supposed to be hopping Friday afternoon with the Brewers home opener, but according to multiple reports the game has been postponed after one or more positive coronavirus tests among the St. Louis traveling party. Morry Gash/Associated Press

 

NEW YORK — The coronavirus forced another change in Major League Baseball’s schedule, bringing the league’s total to eight teams affected in the first nine days of the season.

Friday’s game between St. Louis and Milwaukee was postponed after two Cardinals employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

The league announced the schedule change hours before the game was to be played. It said the postponement in Milwaukee is “consistent with protocols to allow enough time for additional testing and contact tracing to be conducted.”

The Cardinals said in a statement they learned Thursday night about positive tests from samples collected Wednesday. Players and staff have been instructed to isolate in their hotel rooms in Milwaukee, and the club did not leave the hotel Friday for Miller Park.

“The team is currently conducting rapid testing of the entire traveling party, has implemented contact tracing, and will continue to self-isolate,” the team said.

The Brewers and Cardinals plan to resume their schedule Saturday night at Miller Park, pending results from the testing and contact tracing, and make up Friday’s game as part of a doubleheader Sunday.

“We are supportive of Major League Baseball’s decision to postpone today’s game and look forward to playing our home opener as soon as conditions safely allow,” Brewers General Manager David Stearns said in a statement. “The health and safety of our players and employees are, and will continue to be, our top priorities.”

Two other games scheduled for Friday involving the Marlins, Nationals, Blue Jays and Phillies had already been postponed because of an outbreak among Miami players and two positive tests on Philadelphia’s coaching staff.

The Cardinals played in Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday before a scheduled day off Thursday. The Twins hosted Cleveland on Thursday night, meaning the Indians likely used the same visiting clubhouse as St. Louis. Minnesota is scheduled to host the Indians again Friday night.

A week into its virus-shortened 60-game season, Major League Baseball is scrambling to adjust its schedule.

The Marlins haven’t played since Sunday because of an outbreak that’s infected 17 players and two staff members. Miami’s situation has also led to schedule changes for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, meaning eight of baseball’s 30 teams had their plans altered during the first nine days of the 67-day season.

The infected Marlins left Philadelphia in a sleeper bus Friday to return to Miami, where they will remain together in quarantine, a person familiar with the situation told the AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team’s movements hadn’t been announced.

The rest of the team will spend the weekend in isolation in Philadelphia, where the Marlins have been stranded since their outbreak began. It’s uncertain when or where they will next play.

Officials were concerned that the latest Marlins positive test result came five days after the team was last together, when the Marlins beat Philadelphia.

To help makeup all the postponements, MLB and the players’ union agreed Thursday that doubleheaders this season will become a pair of seven-inning games, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no announcement.


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