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Manfred says Marlins outbreak can be managed

1 week ago 7

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Manfred: 'We think we can keep people safe and continue to play' (2:24)

Rob Manfred isn't putting the Marlins' coronavirus situation in a "nightmare" category, but he does say there is a point that would cause MLB to shut down part, or even all, of the schedule. (2:24)

9:39 PM ET

Jesse RogersESPN Staff Writer

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Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers MLB for ESPN.com.

Commissioner Rob Manfred says he believes MLB's health protocols are working despite an outbreak of COVID-19 within one of its teams, the Miami Marlins.

"We built protocols anticipating that we would have positive tests at some point during the season," Manfred said in an interview on MLB Network on Monday afternoon. "The protocols were built to allow us to play through those positives. We believe the protocols are adequate to keep our players safe."

The Marlins had 11 players and two coaches test positive over the last few days, forcing the cancellation of both Monday and Tuesday's games against the Baltimore Orioles. The team remained in Philadelphia, where they played over the weekend, and were retested on Monday. Those results are expected late Monday night.

"If the testing results are acceptable, the Marlins will resume play in Baltimore on Wednesday against the Orioles," Manfred said. Manfred didn't see the outbreak as a "nightmare" scenario.

"I don't put this in the nightmare category," he stated. "It's not a positive thing but I don't see it as a nightmare. ... That's why we have the expanded rosters. That's why we have the pool of additional players."

The league is looking into where the outbreak began. League sources indicate it's possible it came about during a charter flight from Atlanta after the Marlins played an exhibition game there on Wednesday. Manfred was asked what it would take to shut down the league, at least for a short period of time.

"A team losing a number of players, making it completely non-competitive would be something we would have to address and have to think about making a change," Manfred answered. "Our first concern is the health of the players and their families. And making sure we do everything possible to minimize the spread of the virus to our employees."

Manfred said the league hopes to learn from the situation with the Marlins and adjust protocols accordingly. He indicated the decision was made to play their game against the Phillies on Sunday after testing, temperature checks and contact tracing. The Phillies were tested on Monday as well. Their game against the New York Yankees was postponed until the results are known.

"I remain optimistic the protocols are strong enough that it will allow us to continue to play even through an outbreak like this and complete our season," Manfred said.

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