After additional positive COVID-19 tests within the Cardinals’ traveling party, the weekend series against the Brewers in Milwaukee was postponed, Major League Baseball announced Saturday, and the Cardinals remained quarantined in their Milwaukee hotel.
The Cardinals will play four games against the Tigers in Detroit from Tuesday to Thursday, including a Wednesday doubleheader where both games will be seven innings. The Cardinals and Tigers will serve as the home club for two games each at Comerica Park.
After two rounds of tests Friday for COVID-19, the Cardinals received word Saturday that one additional player and one staff member tested positive, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in a Zoom call with reporters Saturday night.
There were also four tests -- from one player and three staff members -- that came back inconclusive. The Cardinals expect more thorough results on those tests on Sunday before the team travels to Detroit on Monday.
Along with the two positive COVID-19 tests that were revealed late Thursday night, the Cardinals have four positive cases total in the 58-person traveling party, along with the four inconclusive tests. Everyone is asymptomatic, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.
Two of the positive cases returned to St. Louis, and the two other positive cases will likely be transferred back to St. Louis soon, too.
The Cardinals went through two tests Friday: A rapid test sent to a Milwaukee hospital and a PCR saliva test sent to an MLB laboratory. By Saturday night, the Cardinals had gotten both results back.
“We have been separated for some time now,” Mozeliak said. “The fact that we have the ability to test gives you some idea of how this can be contained. We’re learning every day, but given the fact that we weren’t forced to try to play [Sunday], or even on Monday -- we’re just buying time, and I think that gives you an advantage to help understand where it is, where it’s at, who’s it affecting, and hopefully we can manage through that.”
The Cardinals will be isolated in their hotel rooms in Milwaukee all day Sunday and will fly to Detroit on Monday, where they hope to have a workout on the field after not playing for four days. The Cardinals were originally scheduled to have a home and home series with the Tigers this week, but they wanted to minimize travel as much as possible and didn’t want to have a doubleheader on their first day back from games.
“We’re flying there, and it just didn't make sense to then fly back and be on a plane again,” Mozeliak said. “We’re trying to minimize the ‘togetherness’ in these tight quarters as best we can. … Trying to also accommodate Detroit to some level. They’re being inconvenienced, so it’s really just sort of a thank you for them to be willing to take us and not force us to play a doubleheader on our first day back.”
The Cardinals haven’t left their hotel rooms since early Friday morning. The two positive results the club learned of late Thursday night were from testing conducted Wednesday before the Cardinals’ game against the Twins in Minneapolis. Club officials immediately began contact tracing, and that included talking with the Twins, especially their visitors’ clubhouse personnel, and the Indians, who played the Twins at Target Field on Thursday.
In their first road trip of the season, the Cardinals had an off-day in Milwaukee on Thursday and did not have an official workout at Miller Park, though some coaches, players and staff members did visit the stadium to do advance work. Brewers' visiting clubhouse personnel were also tested on Friday. After the series opener was postponed, the Brewers worked out on the field at Miller Park on Friday.
Mozeliak said he’s hopeful this outbreak is something the team can manage so it can continue the season safely.
“I always believe that sports, baseball specifically, has been something that fans and people in general have been hoping to get back on the field,” Mozeliak said. “And so to not keep trying, I just don’t think that’s what everybody’s intentions are. Did we think there were gonna be some speed bumps along the way? Of course. Just getting camps going was difficult. These things can happen.
“Whether it’s a normal job or a baseball job, there’s always some risk when you’re working under the umbrella of a pandemic. And so I would just ask that our fan base be patient, and hopefully we get back on that field.”