MINNEAPOLIS — The Guardians will have to navigate a COVID-19 outbreak during their three-game series in Minnesota. Let’s take a look at everything we know.
How many players and coaches are out?
As of now, outfielder/first baseman Josh Naylor is the only player to enter Major League Baseball’s healthy and safety protocols for testing positive for COVID-19.
The following personnel have tested positive from the big league coaching staff:
– Terry Francona, manager
– DeMarlo Hale, bench coach
– Chris Valaika, hitting coach
– Joe Torres, assistant pitching coach
– Sandy Alomar Jr., first-base coach
– Mike Sarbaugh, third-base coach
– Justin Toole, Major League hitting analyst
Who’s going to make up the coaching staff in Minneapolis?
– Pitching coach Carl Willis will serve as acting manager
– Bullpen coach Brian Sweeney will serve as pitching coach
– Assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez will serve as hitting coach
– Replay coordinator Mike Barnett will serve as bench coach
– Field coordinator of Cleveland’s player development system John McDonald will join the team as the first-base coach
– Outfield coach Kyle Hudson will serve as the third-base coach
– Triple-A Columbus hitting coach Jason Esposito will serve as assistant hitting coach
– Triple-A Columbus pitching coach Rigo Beltrán will serve as bullpen coach
– Assistant of baseball operations/technology Anthony D’Elia will serve as replay coordinator
When can everyone rejoin the team?
According to Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, players and coaches can come back to the team as soon as they receive two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests (taken at least 24 hours apart) or are gone for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms. But the team sent all of them back to Cleveland for the weekend. And with an off-day Monday, this means that no one will be back with the club before Tuesday’s matchup against the Reds at Progressive Field.
How is Tito?
While there’s concern with any COVID-19 case, a lot of people are wondering how Francona is doing, considering the Cleveland skipper has had ongoing health concerns over the last two years that prevented him from managing. Antonetti addressed Francona’s situation:
“I won’t be in position to go into specifics on a lot of individuals,” Antonetti said. “But I can share that Tito is actually doing well. He’s traveled back to Cleveland and is hopefully on the path to recovery.”
Who will replace Naylor on the roster?
Now that Naylor is out for at least the next three games, the Guardians made a call to Triple-A Columbus, bringing back outfielder Richie Palacios to add some depth. Owen Miller will be able to shift back over to man first base, Andrés Giménez can move back to second and Amed Rosario will likely move in from left field to go back to shortstop until Naylor can return.
What happens if more people test positive in the coming days?
The Guardians will have to handle each situation as it arises, but the team is able to prepare at least a little bit for any last-minute emergencies. Cleveland brought a taxi squad to Minneapolis which consists of left-hander McCarty, right-hander Anthony Castro and catcher Bryan Lavastida.
What have these 48 hours been like for the Guardians?
Over a two-day span, Cleveland has been forced to postpone a game against the White Sox due to the high number of positive tests in the clubhouse, perform contact tracing and testing, learn that a handful more people within the organization tested positive on Thursday and figure out how to fill nearly the entire coaching staff with extra bodies.
“One of the things we’ve learned over the last few years is to be able to adapt to changing circumstances,” Antonetti said. “We are fortunate to work with and alongside so many great people throughout the organization who are willing to try to step in and help.”