The Washington Nationals had their season-opening home series versus the New York Mets postponed due to what was initially feared to be a "major" COVID-19 outbreak. Washington won't begin the campaign until Tuesday's game against the Atlanta Braves at the earliest, and MLB insider Jon Heyman has confirmed that four Washington players have thus far tested positive for the coronavirus. Another seven are in quarantine:
11 Nats are in quarantine — 4 Covid positive and 7 close contacts. So they will open the season shorthanded Tuesday vs. the Braves. Stars Scherzer, Strasburg and Soto are among the majority not in quarantine.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) April 5, 2021
"You have to be very creative at times. Baseball is a difficult sport to recreate in a basement or a hotel room or an apartment, if you will," Nationals general manager and president Mike Rizzo explained, per Kelyn Soong of the Washington City Paper. "So they’re trying creative ways to stay as loose as they can, but nothing can simulate being on the field and with live action."
As noted by an ESPN story, Washington and Atlanta will play a doubleheader on Wednesday. ESPN added that shortstop Trea Turner, first baseman Josh Bell and catcher Yan Gomes missed Washington's workout on Monday.
MLB informed teams via a memo that COVID-19 health and safety protocols can be relaxed for a club if 85% of its traveling party becomes vaccinated against the coronavirus.