Molina, DeJong among Cards' positive tests

August 5th, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- All-Star catcher Yadier Molina was one of the seven Cardinals players to have tested positive for COVID-19, he announced on Instagram on Tuesday.

Through the team, five of Molina’s teammates also revealed that they had positive tests for COVID-19: All-Star shortstop Paul DeJong; infielders Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo; and relievers Junior Fernández and Kodi Whitley. A total of 13 members of the Cardinals traveling party, seven players and six staff members, have tested positive.

The Cardinals announced Tuesday that Molina, DeJong, Sosa, Fernández, Whitley and right-hander Carlos Martínez have been placed on the injured list. Infielder Brad Miller (right ankle bursitis) was activated from the 10-day injured list. The reason the Cardinals haven’t put Ravelo on the injured list yet is because teams can have a minimum of 25 players on their 30-man roster. Taking Ravelo off would have forced the Cardinals to add a player Tuesday.

The Cardinals also reported no further positive cases from their latest round of testing on Monday, an important step forward in containing the outbreak that has found its way into their traveling party. The club needed two rounds of negative tests to travel back to St. Louis, and they received word Tuesday evening that they were cleared to travel Wednesday via plane. The tentative plan is to have the Cardinals resume their schedule Friday against the Cubs at Busch Stadium.

Molina, 38, said he followed all recommendations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“I’m saddened that I came back positive with COVID-19 even after I followed all recommendations to prevent that from happening,” Molina wrote in Spanish. “I will do all I can to come back stronger for the Cardinals fans, my teammates and the city of St. Louis. For now, I ask you to respect my privacy and that of my family during my absence.”

DeJong issued a statement through the team Tuesday: “I am disappointed to share I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, even though I followed team protocols. I will approach my healing as I do all other things in my life -- with education, commitment, and persistence. I look forward to re-joining the team soon and ask that you respect my privacy at this time.”

President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said Monday that eight of the 13 individuals who tested positive were experiencing mild symptoms, ranging from headaches to low-grade fevers, while the remaining five were asymptomatic. Mozeliak updated the media Tuesday, saying that some with symptoms have improved.

All of the individuals who tested positive have left Milwaukee and returned home via car, while the rest of the team continues to self-isolate in their downtown Milwaukee hotel and be tested daily.

“I think everybody that tested positive is frustrated, because people that play baseball want to play baseball. People who coach baseball want to coach baseball,” Mozeliak said Tuesday. “That part’s a bummer for everybody involved, but in terms of -- I think they’re more saddened by just the way people are looking to accuse someone that actually has it. I think a lot of reluctance for people going public is just how people are being viewed.

“This was a difficult decision for many of these individuals -- whether to make this public or not. And ultimately our players realize that you can’t hide it, so they just felt like it would be better to get out in front of it, and so that’s what they did.”

There is no minimum number of days a player must be on the injured list for COVID-19. The individuals who tested positive will be tested again seven days after their most recent positive test, and they must have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart before beginning the process to return to the team. They also must be symptom free, go at least 72 hours without a fever and pass other exams.

With seven games postponed, the Cardinals have 52 days to play 55 games if they are to complete the 60-game season. They’ll begin to do so with a vastly different roster, and management began considering roster moves Monday night as they prepared for their next game. Many of the team’s replacements will arrive from its alternate training site in Springfield, Mo., over the next few days.

Six members of the team’s staff also tested positive over the weekend, and the Cardinals have begun replacing members of manager Mike Shildt’s coaching staff for the coming days. Minor League hitting coordinator Russ Steinhorn, who was previously helping at the Springfield camp, will be transferred to the Major League staff and assist hitting coach Jeff Albert, among a variety of roles. Mozeliak confirmed that Steinhorn will be the only staff move at this point.

Additionally, assistant Minor League hitting coordinator Joey Hawkins will be added to the Springfield camp once he clears his intake testing. In the interim, manager of player development and performance Emily Wiebe will assist at that camp, the club announced.

Mozeliak said Monday that the Cardinals were able to trace the origin of the outbreak back to St. Louis before they left for their road trip. The two initial positive results were from tests conducted Wednesday in Minnesota. That led to the series at Miller Park being postponed, as well as this week’s series against Detroit. The number of confirmed positives grew from two on Thursday to four over the weekend, and then reached 13 confirmed by Monday morning. But through daily testing and continued quarantining, the Cardinals have contained the outbreak and are cleared to travel back to St. Louis and resume baseball activities.

“It’s pretty clear that once you stop having people test positive, you can take that step forward,” Mozeliak said Monday. “Your hope is we can get back to baseball, and everybody that’s sitting up here right now, that’s their goal.”