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Five Phillies players in Florida test positive for coronavirus

Philadelphia Phillies logo.
Five players and three staff members on the Philadelphia Phillies have tested positive for COVID-19 while training for the MLB season in Florida.
(Corey Perrine / Getty Images)

Five players for the Philadelphia Phillies have tested positive for the coronavirus at the team’s spring camp in Florida, prompting the club to indefinitely close the complex.

The team also said Friday that three staff members at the camp have tested positive. The club didn’t identify any of those infected.

Philadelphia has shut the camp in Clearwater to players, coaches and staff while medical authorities assess the situation.

The announcement came while Major League Baseball owners and players try to negotiate a deal to begin the season amid the coronavirus outbreak, including health protocols. Some players recently had been working out at spring training sites while practicing social distancing.

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The sides hoped to have players begin testing Tuesday and then begin a second round of spring training on June 26. Most teams likely would hold those workouts at their home ballparks, rather than at their spring camps in Florida and Arizona.

“In terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies’ 2020 season, the club declines comment, believing that it is too early to know,” the team said.

In a statement, managing partner John Middleton said, “The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority.“

“As a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected.”

The Phillies said the first confirmed case occurred Tuesday. The club said eight staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players — both major leaguers and minor leaguers — living in the Clearwater area are being tested.

The Phillies first closed their facility in March, when the pandemic shut down sports. Players returning from injuries were allowed to continue their rehab after the facility was cleaned thoroughly. A few of the team’s athletic trainers and staff remained to supervise and assure safety precautions were taken.

Several more players began working out at the facility over the last few weeks, but group sizes were limited. The latest outbreak occurs as Florida has experienced rising incidents of new cases and rates of those testing positive for the coronavirus.

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Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Florida has increased by 1,422.7, or 144.4%.

In other coronavirus-related sports news:

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning announced three players and additional staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The team said the players and staff members have been in self isolation and there have been a few cases of low-grade fever. The team closed its training facilities Thursday after learning of the positive tests.

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