Rizzo could only express concern about the game without a chance to shake off the rust of a week’s quarantine. Citizens already have a date and will rush to it. All eligible players must train in National Park on Monday afternoon.
“There is no record of the exact amount of training in a full team that you must have before you can start playing,” Rizzo told reporters during a video conference Sunday before the announcement. “So basically we can be told that we are playing tomorrow with a very, very short training schedule before. This is a reminder that the players in the position did not work for a week and the pitchers did not throw any racing pitches during the same period of time.
“We take it very seriously here. We think of creative ways according to the protocol and under the guidance to prepare these guys as best as possible. But [not] I train [for] a week before the game will be something we are worried about. “
The national team, whose three-season opening game against the New York Mets has been postponed, did not have new positive results in their coronavirus tests on Thursday or Friday. But now they have 13 members of the organization in quarantine (for close contacts) or isolation (for anyone who has had a positive test). Four players tested positive last week Nine others – seven players and two employees – are quarantined due to potential exposure. Two of these people – a player and a staff member – were added to the quarantine list this weekend due to DC regulations.
According to Rizzo, the “majority” of the 11 inaccessible players is expected to be on the roster on the opening day. The national team is expected to be without outside player Kyle Schwarber, inside player Josh Harrison, hunter Alex Avila and left-hander John Lester in the coming days, according to many people who know about the situation. They plan to fill several places on the roster of players from their alternative training facility in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
But Rizzo is cautious in pushing his team back without proper accumulation. Each season, the major leagues use six weeks of spring training to put themselves in action. Now, however, the nationals will come out with a long break before the opening on Tuesday. This was made possible by another round of test results, which did not reveal new positive results. The Nationals and MLB added on Sunday that makeup dates for the four postponements – three Mets games and one with Braves – will be announced when available.
“We want to do everything we can to drive this thing right here,” Rizzo said. “So I think that’s a lot to take into account when we talk over the next few days.”
The 2020 season began last summer with even bigger outbreaks among Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. The Marlins had 20 positive positions – including players and staff – and remained isolated and quarantined at a hotel in Philadelphia. The Cardinals had more than a dozen positive tests that kept them out for 15 days. Both teams received two training sessions before resuming their schedules.
As Rizzo noted, the 2021 MLB protocols do not specify how many workouts are needed before a paused team can start again. The Marlins and the Cardinals were the only real (and loose) precedent. Marlins had 13 players who trained at the University of Pennsylvania, then a full training session in Baltimore, adding in return before facing the Orioles at Camden Yards. The Cardinals had days of individual training before heading to a double head against the White Sox in Chicago.
Each case shows that decisions are made on the fly. This is the nature of the game through a pandemic and the situation of the nationals will not differ. Rizzo just wanted some opportunity to crush their arms and legs. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, the Mets finished training at Nationals Park. They soon headed to Philadelphia for a three-game series with Phyllis, which begins Monday. And when they were gone, citizens were allowed to ride bikes in pitchers for individual throwing sessions.
Daniel Hudson and Eric Fede were among those who threw in an almost empty stadium. The goal was for each active pitcher catch to play at least before the weekend was over. The alternative site has conducted daily training sessions and clashes in the team, which include more than 30 juvenile leagues. Citizens will need everyone ready to face the Brave on Tuesday.
“They want to go out on the field,” Rizzo said. “They really want to get back to the routine game of baseball and they want to train and get the blood flowing again.”