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Tuesday's MLB: Yankees-Phillies series postponed amid virus worries

Associated Press

Philadelphia — The remainder of the Phillies’ home-and-home series against the New York Yankees was postponed amid coronavirus concerns Tuesday in the wake of an outbreak involving another team.

The Phillies were supposed to host the Yankees on Monday and Tuesday and play them in New York on Wednesday and Thursday. Instead, the Yankees are planning to head to Baltimore to start a series against the Orioles on Wednesday.

An empty Ashburn Alley faces seats at Citizens Bank Park on Monday after the Phillies' game against the Yankees was postponed.

“As of right now, we get to continue our season and we’re excited about the opportunity,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “2020 is unlike anything we’ve experienced.”

The Phillies were having a second round of COVID-19 tests Tuesday following an outbreak among the Miami Marlins, who played a weekend series in Philadelphia.

“The fact that we haven’t had anyone test positive yet is great, but there’s too much at stake when you talk about players and their health and their family’s health,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said in an interview with MLB Network Radio. “There are guys that have little children at home or wives that are pregnant or a parent that is high risk. There’s too much at risk here not to say: ‘Hey, we’ve got to back off for two days and let’s make sure.’ I think it’s smart what baseball is doing here and then we’ll go from there. We had some players that probably had some trepidation (playing against the Marlins) on Sunday because there’s close contact.”

The Yankees spent Monday in a hotel in Philadelphia after the opener of the series was postponed. They were going to return to New York on Tuesday before rearranging the schedule to go to Baltimore.

Boone said some of the team’s equipment was en route to New York before being rerouted.

The Phillies are set to host Toronto on Friday, a series originally scheduled to be on the road that had to be switched because the Blue Jays’ temporary home ballpark in Buffalo, New York, isn’t ready yet. That series is pending the results of the team’s latest COVID-19 tests.

Blue Jays reliever Anthony Bass said the team has changed hotels so it won’t be staying where the Marlins did in Philadelphia. The Blue Jays were displaced from Toronto because health officials in Canada were worried about frequent travel by players throughout the U.S., one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic.

“There’s concerns from everybody, everywhere. We’re all trying to be safe,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Girardi said he had “anxious moments” waiting on his team’s test results.

“My fear always is, if there’s one person who has it, there’s probably more,” Girardi said. “I think we have to be really smart about this and after thinking about it, I think that this could happen more than one time with an organization. If everyone doesn’t play 60 games, I think that’s all right. We want to get to the playoffs. That’s the important thing. If a team plays 57 games, you go by winning percentage to take the playoff teams and you go from there.”

More than a dozen Marlins players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak that stranded the team in Philadelphia on Sunday, disrupting MLB’s schedule in the early days of the shortened, pandemic-delayed season.

Major League Baseball suspended the Miami Marlins’ season through Sunday.

Renteria returns

The White Sox got their manager back just before their first road game of this strange, shortened season.

Rick Renteria returned to the team Tuesday after being isolated for 24 hours after he awakened Monday experiencing some COVID-19 symptoms. Renteria walked into Progressive Field about 90 minutes before the start of a doubleheader against the Indians.

He stayed behind the batting cage and at a safe distance from his players as they took batting practice.

Before he arrived, it was unclear when Renteria, who has been with the White Sox since 2017, would be allowed back with the club. On Monday, he complained of a “slight cough and nasal congestion” and went to a Cleveland hospital for evaluation and tests.

The 58-year-old stayed at the team’s hotel when Monday’s game was postponed by rain. Renteria had to stay away from his players and staff until he passed Major League Baseball’s safety protocols.

Before Tuesday’s doubleheader, bench coach Joe McEwing said he had been in contact with Renteria and reported he “sounded great. We miss him. Hopefully we get him back here soon.” McEwing filled in as manager during Renteria’s short absence.

As part of the guidelines teams most follow, a symptomatic person must have two negative tests given 24 hours apart before they are allowed to rejoin the team. The person must also be symptom-free and receive physician approval to return.

The decision by the White Sox to isolate Renteria came amid concerns about the coronavirus spreading across the majors in the first week since the delayed season began.

The White Sox have had at least three known positive coronavirus cases. Third baseman Yoán Moncada tested positive during the team’s intake process earlier this month and said he appreciated the team’s efforts to thwart a possible spread.

Around the horn

The Astros picked up the option for the 2021 season on manager Dusty Baker’s contract.

Baker was hired in January to replace AJ Hinch, who was fired by the team after he and general manager Jeff Luhnow were initially suspended for one year by Major League Baseball for their roles in Houston’s sign-stealing scandal. Luhnow also was fired.

The 71-year-old Baker is in his 23rd year as a manager after starting in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants. A three-time National League Manager of the Year, Baker came to the Astros after managing the Washington Nationals, who let him go after a 97-65 season in 2017.

... The Royals signed former All-Star Matt Harvey to a minor league contract.

... The Mets have agreed to a minor league contract with catcher Bruce Maxwell, the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced and was pending the completion of a physical and intake testing for the coronavirus. The deal was first reported by Newsday.

... Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is joining the ownership group of the Royals.

The Royals announced the addition of Mahomes, the star quarterback who led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl title last season, on Tuesday. Mahomes was once a baseball prospect and was drafted by the Tigers in 2014.