Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper celebrates with first baseman Rhys Hoskins in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Picture: JAMES LANG/USA TODAY
Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper celebrates with first baseman Rhys Hoskins in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Picture: JAMES LANG/USA TODAY

The Miami Marlins postponed their home opener on Monday due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus within their team.

Reports on Monday said the number of cases within the team has reached as many as 16 players, coaches and staff.

The Philadelphia Phillies, who hosted the Marlins over the weekend, also postponed their game on Monday against the New York Yankees, and underwent testing.

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reported MLB planned to use rapid results testing at Rutgers University in addition to its contracted lab, which is based in Utah.

The Marlins called off their trip back to Florida on Sunday and remain in a hotel in Pennsylvania. They were scheduled to host the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

Media reports said the Orioles were returning to Baltimore on Monday, effectively calling off the second half of the scheduled two-game series in Miami on Tuesday night.

“The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these uncharted waters,” Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said in a team-issued statement. “After a successful Spring 2.0, we have now experienced challenges once we went on the road and left Miami. Postponing [Monday's] home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation.

“We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which we expect later today. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.”

MLB reporter Scott Miller said the plan as of Monday afternoon called for the Marlins who had not tested positive to take a bus to Baltimore, where they are scheduled to play the Orioles on Wednesday and Thursday. Taxi squad players will join the team there to replace the quarantined players.

Right-handed starter Jose Urena was scratched from Sunday's game as manager Don Mattingly openly contemplated making the trip back to Miami for Monday's game without a portion of his team.

“The guys that tested positive are quarantined here in Philly,” Mattingly said on Sunday.

That reportedly included Urena and catcher Jorge Alfaro, who was placed on the injured list Friday before the opener at Philadelphia. The Marlins did not provide a specific injury or details, saying only that Alfaro would return this season.

Mattingly said on Sunday he discussed the atmosphere around the team and wanted to make sure players felt safe before they took the field against the Phillies. At the time, the worry already was palpable.

“It's fair to say guys are concerned about things,” Mattingly said. “They want their feelings as part of situations to be heard. I think it's fair. We're talking about health. We're talking about these guys travelling back to their homes. To their families, to their children. It's the reason we want to be safe. They've got a voice, and they get a voice. We're definitely going to listen to what's going on with them.”

Reuters

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