Infielder Montero tests positive for COVID-19

July 7th, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals announced Sunday that a third player has tested positive for COVID-19 during intake testing for Summer Camp.

Infielder , who gave consent to be identified by the team, had a positive test result after arriving in St. Louis last week. The third baseman is asymptomatic and has been placed in isolation.

Montero received the fourth positive test in the organization, and he is the third identified player after left-handed pitchers Génesis Cabrera and Ricardo Sánchez were announced Saturday to have tested positive.

Montero and Cabrera were on the charter plane from the Dominican Republic to Miami on Wednesday, a Cardinals official confirmed. Carlos Martínez also traveled on that flight, and Alex Reyes, Junior Fernandez and Ivan Herrera have not appeared on the field at workouts.

Some players' intake tests are still pending, but the team has not confirmed the names of those players.

Reliever Giovanny Gallegos is also not in camp; he has remained in Mexico until he receives clearance to travel.

Of the eight players who have not appeared in camp, six are pitchers. With 16 more workouts to go, as well as an optional workout before Opening Day, their absence from these early workouts in a three-week preseason camp might complicate their readiness for the regular season, and the Cardinals will likely address their pitching depth in the coming days. They have 45 players on the Summer Camp roster, with the ability to add up to 60.

“Really compromising for the pitchers that don’t go through the progression of bullpens, live [batting practice], intrasquads and get some of the other fundamentals,” manager Mike Shildt said. “If guys aren’t here for that -- and we understand it, clearly -- but from a baseball perspective, it is compromising their opportunity to compete on Opening Day.”

With positive tests arising in their organization and around the league, Shildt said the Cardinals are following health and safety protocols to the “absolute letter of the law.”

“We’re trying to figure out things to keep everybody moving, and I think we’ve done a really, really good job and people’s hearts and mind are into it in the right manner,” Shildt said. “It’s not foolproof, clearly. We’re dealing with humans and we’re doing something that’s very serious in nature from a health standpoint. It’s going to require some real good fortune, but I do think it’s very possible. But I can’t say it’s going to be a guarantee. I’d be lying to you if I did.”

Cardinals players had a meeting on Saturday that included messages from a veteran group: Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter, Matt Wieters and Andrew Miller. They spoke about staying accountable away from the ballpark and avoiding activities that might expose them to the virus.

“There’s no room for selfishness right now, during this part of the season where everything has to go just perfect for us to play,” Wainwright said. “So there’s a lot at stake. … We talked about being careful, being safe, controlling what we can control and not going too crazy. For three months. We’re talking about for three months. After three months, we can’t dictate what you’re doing anymore, but for three months, we need everybody to be good soldiers.”

Miller served on the Major League Baseball Players Association executive subcommittee that was involved in negotiations with the league during the stoppage of play. Through it all, he stressed the importance of health and safety for the players and the need for players to act responsibly away from the ballpark. He reiterated that view Sunday on a conference call with reporters.

“If this is going to work, if Major League Baseball is going to have a season, it’s going to be because players have been responsible,” Miller said. “And staff. Tier 1 and Tier 2 and the individuals that could potentially bring this into our bubble.

“I don’t want to be the one that brings down a season. I think that there’s got to be a little bit of luck, in my opinion, but the responsibility part, if guys don’t take that seriously, I don’t think we have any chance.”

Throughout the negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA, the biggest threat to the season was the coronavirus pandemic. That threat is still there, which is why Cardinals player leadership wanted to emphasize the need to remain disciplined away from the team’s bubble at the ballpark.

“I think there’s still some doubt we’ll have a season now,” Miller said. “By no means is this a slam dunk. We’re trying, we’re going to give it our best effort, but for me to sit here and say [it's] 100 percent, I think would be a lie.”