Marlins delay flight home to Miami due to fears of coronavirus outbreak among team


The Marlins postponed their plans to travel back home to Miami on Sunday amid fears of a COVID-19 outbreak inside the organization, according to the Associated Press.

The team planned to fly home after an 11-6 win against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon, leaving them plenty of time before their home opener on Monday night.

However, according to ESPN, at least four players tested positive for the coronavirus and have been quarantined in Philadelphia. The team didn’t announce which players had tested positive.

Jose Urena was scheduled to start Sunday’s game, though he was scratched at the last minute. Catcher Jorge Alfaro, per the report, was placed on the injured list before their season opener on Friday too, though a reason wasn’t given.

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The team is now planning to fly home on Monday, manager Don Mattingly said. The team will arrive hours before their hope opener against the Baltimore Orioles.

“We were more comfortable flying as a group later,” Mattingly said, via the Associated Press. “We’re talking about these guys traveling back home to their families and their kids, and it’s the reason we want to be safe.”

The team had been in Atlanta for a pair of exhibition games earlier this week before flying straight to Philadelphia. The Braves announced on Friday that their top two catchers, Tyler Flowers and Travis d’Araud, were showing symptoms related to the coronavirus. Mattingly, per the report, declined to speculate about where his players contracted the virus.

Several players were texting among themselves on Sunday about the outbreak inside the team, per the report, though never wanted to not play in the game.

“It’s fair to say guys are concerned about things,” Mattingly said, via the Associated Press. “They want how they’re feeling about this situation to be heard. I think it’s fair. We’re talking about health.”

The four Miami players are just the latest in the baseball world to contract the coronavirus. Juan Soto was scratched from the Washington Nationals’ lineup for their season opener after testing positive. Cincinnati Reds infielder Matt Davidson tested positive on Saturday after playing in their season opener on Friday.

‘It feels safer in Miami’

There were more than 4.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Sunday afternoon, according to The New York Times, and more than 146,500 deaths attributed to it. The country has averaged nearly 67,000 new cases each day over the past week.

Cases have been spiking in Florida in recent weeks, too, and the Miami area is one of the worst coronavirus hotspots in the world. The state had almost 424,000 confirmed cases, the second most behind only California, and nearly 77,000 deaths. Miami-Dade county had more than 104,000 cases, nearly 21,000 of which came in the last week alone.

Despite the outbreak, however, Mattingly is looking forward to returning home.

“It feels safer in Miami than anywhere,” Mattingly said, via the Associated Press. “You feel safe at the ballpark. I feel safe with my surroundings going home. It’s a lot scarier on the road.”

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly
Four Marlins players tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday, prompting the team to push its flight home from Philadelphia to Monday. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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