Matheny reveals he had COVID-19, recovered

July 4th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- On a day when Royals catcher Salvador Perez came forward and said he had tested positive for COVID-19, Royals manager Mike Matheny also indicated Saturday that he had contracted the virus and has since recovered.

“I had this stuff about a month ago,” Matheny said in a Zoom call. “It’s given me more empathy but also the urgency to understand that we can be really careful [and still get it]. This thing’s for real. It’s a real deal and we have to be on top of our game to protect each other.

“I did have symptoms. We knew. We had a family member test positive, so we knew even before the test because we had exposure, so my wife and I took off and we quarantined just the two of us. And it was just the way they said it might happen, about three days [after exposure], I started feeling it.

“But we laid low and quarantined and stayed away from people and it ran its course. Fortunately I’ve been tested with the right antibody and looking forward now to donating some plasma to help out however we can.”

Matheny’s wife, Kristin, did not test positive for COVID-19.

“My wife was around me the whole time and never had any symptoms and never tested positive,” Matheny said. “But I do realize that anyone at higher [risk] needs to be extremely cautious with this. I consider myself in good shape and in good health and not at risk, not a high risk, certainly.

“But I felt it, and someone in a different place [health-wise] in their life, it would have knocked them pretty good. There were people in my life that I didn’t want exposed at all.”

Matheny said the fact that he and Perez could test positive -- Perez is asymptomatic -- should send a message to the rest of the Royals.

“I didn’t tell all of them I’d been through it,” Matheny said. “But I did tell some. But I told them we’re going to cover each other’s back to take care of ourselves and each other. I think to be able to personalize it, for them to see with Salvy -- ‘Hey, that’s our captain [and he had it]’ -- that’s the conversation you have with the guys. Many of them feel bulletproof, and they are very low-risk. But don’t deny the risk of taking it home to somebody. ... Just take it seriously, that this thing is real.”

Another solid practice
For the second straight day, Matheny raved about the crispness of the day’s workout.

“You can tell when guys are slow-playing it or when guys are really on,” Matheny said. “And for the second straight day, guys were really on. Pitchers were pounding the zone, hitters had good at-bats.”

Singer, Hahn look good
Right-hander Brady Singer, the Royals’ No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, threw a live batting-practice session Saturday. Singer is a possibility for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

“He looked good,” Matheny said. “There were some swings and misses, but that’s a catch-22 -- those are your own guys swinging and missing. The slider looked good. Fastball was located.

“He knows himself so well. He has a clear idea of what he wants to do. He has a knack for making pitches.”

Right-hander Jesse Hahn, who is out of Minor League options and could be on the bubble to make the 30-man roster, had a good showing as well.

“Watching Jesse Hahn throw his curveball today, which he wasn’t able to do in spring,” Matheny said, “that’s a game-changer for him.”