NEW YORK -- Citing an abundance of caution, and to allow time for additional testing and contact tracing to be performed, Major League Baseball on Friday postponed the rest of this weekend’s Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees.
The Mets have now had four games postponed since learning that one player and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19 in Miami. Following the postponement of Thursday’s game against the Marlins, players and staffers not involved in ongoing contact tracing flew back to New York, where they underwent testing on Thursday night and Friday morning. The two who had tested positive in Miami, along with their close contacts, remained in Miami.
MLB plans to provide additional updates as warranted. The Mets and Yankees have a mutual off day on Monday, and they are scheduled to meet again at Yankee Stadium next weekend. Speaking Friday afternoon on WFAN Radio, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called the idea of a doubleheader Monday “at least possible, but I don’t think anyone is clear on it yet.”
“Obviously things have to happen over today and tomorrow as far as negative tests and things like that,” Boone said. “It seems that that would at least be a possibility, but I’m not sure that it necessarily means it’s going to happen.”
In the interim, the Mets do not plan to hold any team workouts until at least Monday.
“We will await further results and potential scheduling information from MLB and continue to provide updates when available,” the team said in a statement.
Neither general manager Brodie Van Wagenen nor any other club official has spoken publicly on the matter. The Mets have not revealed how many players or staffers stayed in Miami as close contacts of the two infected individuals, saying only that they “will continue to self-isolate and quarantine while undergoing additional testing.”
Those Mets not required to stay in Miami flew home Thursday after consultation with MLB. The team spread out as much as possible on its chartered Boeing 757, which is larger than the 737 aircraft the Mets typically use on road trips. Sitting a minimum of six feet apart, players and staffers were required to wear N95 masks throughout the entire flight, and they were not allowed to eat or drink. Once home, the Mets entered a quarantine period that will continue through at least this weekend.
In conjunction with MLB and medical experts, team officials determined that flying home was safer than quarantining in Miami for several reasons. Firstly, the Mets had already checked out of their hotel, and they were concerned about the safety issues of checking into a new one on short notice. Secondly, the team determined that the community risk of infection would be lower in New York City -- which has reported 1,890 new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- than Florida, which has reported 31,175 new cases.
Finally, the Mets favored returning to New York City because of the availability of medical and testing resources there.
How long the quarantine lasts remains uncertain. Four other Major League teams have halted play this season due to positive COVID-19 tests, with stoppages ranging from four days for the Reds to 15 days for the Cardinals.
The Mets, who were riding a three-game winning streak prior to the shutdown, are hopeful that their caution will lead to a shorter break. Two-time reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom had recently returned from a one-start absence due to neck stiffness, and the team was planning to shift Seth Lugo to the rotation. How the Mets’ pitching plans progress will depend upon how long their holding pattern lasts, with two other starters -- Michael Wacha and David Peterson, who are both dealing with shoulder inflammation -- eligible to come off the injured list shortly.