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Cardinals bracing for more positive tests as latest coronavirus crisis deepens

The Cardinals' outbreak appears to be the second-biggest thus far in baseball, with the season only a week and a half old. (Jim Mone/AP Photo)

Still under self-isolation at their Milwaukee hotel amid a weekend’s worth of postponed games, the St. Louis Cardinals were bracing Sunday for more positive tests for the novel coronavirus as baseball’s worst current outbreak deepens, potentially threatening more games in the coming week.

Multiple reports said the Cardinals were expecting additional positives when the latest results of testing arrive. It would be the latest in a string of new positive tests for the Cardinals, whose three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed; they are next scheduled to play Tuesday in Detroit against the Tigers.

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The number of confirmed positives for the Cardinals is unknown and complicated by the fact the team is running rapid tests for its personnel at a hospital, in addition to the saliva tests being run through MLB’s laboratory, and the results reportedly have not always agreed.

“The team is still awaiting additional results from recent covid-19 testing, and based on the timing of those test results, we do not anticipate having any updates until [Monday],” the Cardinals said in a statement Sunday night. “The team will remain in Milwaukee tonight as planned.”

The Cardinals confirmed Saturday night that one player and three staff members tested positive but said an additional player and three additional staff members received results that were inconclusive. The infected personnel were heading back to St. Louis in cars, while the rest of the team’s traveling party remained at the Milwaukee hotel.

The Cardinals’ outbreak appears to be the second biggest in baseball, with the season only a week and a half old. The Miami Marlins had 18 players and two coaches test positive last week, forcing a week’s hiatus for both the Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies — who had hosted the Marlins for three games at the time of the outbreak — and a juggling of the schedules of four other teams.

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All told, 19 games have been postponed. The Phillies are scheduled to resume their season Monday at the New York Yankees, while the Marlins are due to resume Tuesday in Baltimore against the Orioles.

The Marlins’ and Cardinals’ outbreaks have led to a rash of new opt-outs from players — the latest being New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on Sunday — and a renewed effort from MLB both to strengthen its health and safety protocols and to emphasize the need for all personnel to adhere to the existing ones.

“I think that if everybody does what they are supposed to do, we can continue to play, have a credible season and get through the postseason,” Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Associated Press on Saturday. “I don’t think it’s realistic to think we’re not going to have any more positive tests. We’re going to be fluid. We think it’s manageable.”

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