As players begin to report for summer camp in preparation for the 2020 season, MLB revealed that 31 players tested positive for COVID-19 . Unfortunately, Atlanta Braves star Freddie Freeman and three of his teammates are among the players thwho at have contracted the coronavirus.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Atlanta Braves skipper Brian Snitker shared that Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Touki Toussaint and Pete Kozma all tested positive for COVID-19.
While Smith, whom Atlanta signed to a massive three-year contract in free agency, and Touissant are asymptomatic, Freeman and Kozma weren’t as fortunate.
#Braves' Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Touki Toussaint and Pete Kozma tested positive for COVID-19. Freeman has a fever, Brian Snitker said it's "going to be a while" before they get him in camp. Smith and Toussaint are asymptomatic. Kozma is on satellite roster, also has symptoms— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 4, 2020
Freeman and Kozma are both dealing with symptoms from the coronavirus and will remain sidelined for some time. As of Saturday morning, Freeman told Snitker that he still wasn’t feeling well, and Atlanta’s manager now expects it will be a while before the All-Star first baseman returns.
The 30-year-old is a four-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award this past season. In 2019, Freeman posted a .295/.389/.549 slash line with 38 homers and 121 RBI across 158 games.
While this is an obvious blow for the Braves, it also highlights the dangers of potentially playing baseball during the COVID-19 pandemic. Players are not only putting their long-term health in jeopardy, but the safety of their families is also at risk.
While there is no indication at this point that any of the four players will sit out, several of their peers around the league have already opted out of the 2020 season.
More MLB players are expected to withdraw from playing this season. From the league's perspective, the biggest blow might come if Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout decides to sit out to ensure the safety of his wife and their baby due in August.