A's-Astros postponed; alternate site on pause
HOUSTON -- Astros players and staff went through a round of COVID-19 testing on Sunday morning after learning a member of the Oakland A’s traveling party had tested positive for the virus, which forced the postponement of Sunday’s series finale between the top two teams in the American League West at Minute Maid Park.
Astros general manager James Click said those tests will be sent to the lab and the results will be made known on Monday morning. He said if anybody comes up as a result of their contact tracing protocols, the team will try to find a way to get them rapid tested locally, assuming there's capacity.
Click said Sunday’s game won’t be rescheduled for Monday, when both teams are off, and he remains hopeful the Astros can resume play on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park with a three-game series against the Rangers. The Astros were previously tested on Friday, and all results were negative.
“We're obviously taking our cues from Major League Baseball and our health and safety people,” Click said. “Once we have a better idea of the test results [from Sunday], we'll be able to address the Rangers series. But hopefully, if the contact tracing comes back negative and the test comes back negative, we'll be able to go on Tuesday.”
Click said the team’s alternate training site in Corpus Christi, Texas, has been temporarily shut down again because of a lone positive test. This is the second time in less than 10 days that the alternate training site -- where players who are in the team’s 60-man player pool for 2020 but aren’t on the active Major League roster are working out -- has been shuttered because of a positive test.
Click said the team is performing contact tracing procedures and deep cleaning at Whataburger Field with hopes of reopening soon.
“The hope is that, because we've been following the protocols, because people have been wearing the masks and doing everything else, that this will be contained,” Click said. “Obviously, we won't know that until we do the testing.”
In the meantime, Click said the team is working with MLB to allow unaffected players in Corpus Christi to come to Minute Maid Park to resume workouts, which would take place separate from the Major League club. Several key players, including All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman (hamstring) and starting pitcher Jose Urquidy (undisclosed), are rehabbing injuries at the alternate site.
“The trick is that we still have to maintain the separation between the players of the alternate site and the players on the Major League roster so that if there's a positive test like this that it doesn't spread,” Click said. “We are working with MLB on providing a document that shows protocols as far as entry and exit, where those players would locker. They wouldn’t walk in the same locker room, they wouldn’t use the field at the same time. We have to clean everything in between when they get there and when the regular Major Leaguers get there. So all of that is being worked on actively.”
Sunday is the fourth Astros game to be postponed this week. Houston had games against the Angels postponed on Wednesday and Thursday because of an approaching hurricane, one of which was made up with a doubleheader Tuesday. The Astros didn’t play on Friday in a protest for social justice reform, and that game was made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. The Astros swept the A’s to get within 2.5 games of the lead in the AL West.