“We got news, honestly, as soon as JB hit the home run," Martinez said after a 6-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. "[Head athletic trainer] Paul [Lessard] came and got me and we had to get him out right away.”
Martinez added that no players or staff have to quarantine as close contact to Turner. The 28-year-old shortstop was not showing symptoms at the start of the game, according to Martinez, and will undergo follow-up tests. He is likely to be sidelined for a minimum of 10 days.
The Nationals began their season with four players testing positive for the virus and with nine others — seven players and two staff members — in mandatory quarantine because of close contact with an infected individual. In late May, starting pitcher Erick Fedde tested positive despite being vaccinated, while reliever Tanner Rainey, an unvaccinated teammate, had to quarantine because he was a close contact. Then in early June, the Nationals reached the 85 percent vaccination rate required to relax some of MLB’s protocols.
Unlike with Turner, the Nationals clarified that Fedde was vaccinated when they announced he had tested positive. And Martinez noted in his postgame news conference that vaccinated players and staff are not getting regularly tested in MLB’s reworked protocols for teams above the 85 percent threshold.
“He started the game as normal,” Martinez said when asked if Turner told anyone he wasn’t feeling well. “And like I said, the first time I heard of it, the protocol is to get him out and get him isolated as soon as possible.”
Turner was replaced in the lineup by Gerardo Parra, who entered in left field. Josh Harrison moved from left to second, and Alcides Escobar shifted from second to fill Turner’s spot at shortstop. Infielder Luis García was then removed from the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings game against Lehigh Valley, completing the domino effect. García, 21, will meet the Nationals in Philadelphia and replace Turner on the active roster, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.
With the trade deadline at 4 p.m. Friday, Turner’s early exit sparked speculation that he could be on the move. But the Nationals offered a rare in-game update, confirming that Turner has entered coronavirus protocols. Yet that still didn’t alleviation initial confusion on the field and in the dugout.
“We were just thinking about the trade deadline,” Juan Soto said of what he thought when Turner left the game. “We just say,' ‘All right, now we’re going to keep playing baseball.’”
“There are a lot of rumors flying around, so it was like, ‘Oh dang, what happened?’” added Fedde, who started Tuesday. “And then after the game, we found out what really happened, so it’s unfortunate for us and for him. Hopefully it’s nothing serious with his health.”