WASHINGTON -- Two Nationals players have tested positive for COVID-19, manager Dave Martinez announced Sunday. The positive results were yielded from intake testing, and those players -- who were not identified -- have not been to Nationals Park.
“It definitely hurts,” Martinez said. “One, you think about the player. Two, right away you think about families -- if they have kids -- and hope that they’re all OK. … For me, I just hope that they come out of it OK and they’re back with us as soon as possible.”
Fifty-eight Nationals players have taken intake tests to this point. As of Sunday afternoon, the team still was awaiting the results for a group of players who had to travel back to Washington from Latin America and were the last to undergo the initial testing.
Martinez has spoken to the Nationals about the importance of following the health guidelines, and he tasked the veterans with helping to emphasize the message. Martinez, who underwent a heart procedure last year, follows steps to keep himself safe. After spending three months in isolation on his farm in Tennessee, his daily routine consists of going back and forth between his home and the ballpark.
“I’m definitely at a little bit of a risk, but I’m doing everything I can to stay healthy,” Martinez said. “I wash my hands 47 times a day. I wear my mask everywhere. I leave here with gloves on. I’m going to do everything I can to stay healthy. The biggest thing in that is not to get anybody else sick in case I do come up with it. I don’t want to get anybody sick. I worry about that more than I worry about me getting sick.”
The early results highlight one of the many challenges Martinez is facing this season as a manager. The Nationals' roster could be in flux any given day because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players who test positive have to be symptom-free for 72 hours and test negative twice within at least 24 hours in order to report to the stadium. That impacts how teams prepare for the season in Summer Camp, and how they compete once games are underway.
The Nationals' player pool is at 58 after Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross and Welington Castillo elected not to play, and 2020 first-round Draft pick Cade Cavalli was added to the pool.
“[General manager Mike Rizzo], myself and a bunch of other people, we put together basically a 60-man roster that we felt like if somebody does happen to go down, that we have somebody to step up, and we can bring them up and fill the void,” Martinez said.
“All I can do is think about today and right now.”