FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2020, file photo, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo looks on during the seventh inning in the continuation of a suspended baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Nationals in Baltimore. On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Rizzo said a player for the team has tested positive for COVID-19. Rizzo said that four teammates and a staff member have been quarantined on the eve of the start of the regular season after contact tracing. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Mets-Nats opener delayed after positive COVID test, tracing

WASHINGTON — The opening day baseball game between the Nationals and Mets was postponed hours before it was scheduled to begin Thursday night because of coronavirus concerns after one of Washington’s players tested positive for COVID-19.

The Nationals issued a statement saying “ongoing contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization” was the reason for scrapping the game at their stadium.

The contest was not immediately rescheduled, even though Friday already had been set up as an off day that could accommodate a game pushed back from Thursday if there were a rainout, for example.

The Nationals said in a statement the game “will not be made up on Friday.”

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday that one of his team’s players had tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, before the team left spring training camp.

Rizzo said four other players and one staff member were following quarantine protocols after contract tracing determined they were in close contact with the person who tested positive.

Rizzo did not identify any of those involved.

“We’re still in the process of finding out exactly what their status is,” Rizzo said Wednesday. “They’re certainly out for tomorrow’s game.”

The 2019 World Series champions — who finished tied for last in the NL East in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season — were supposed to send Max Scherzer to the mound to face New York’s Jacob deGrom in a matchup between pitchers who own a total of five Cy Young Awards.

“We will certainly have some roster decisions to make, depending on how this all shakes out,” Rizzo said Wednesday.

Word of the positive test came a little after 1 a.m. Wednesday, he said.

The team flight from Florida to Washington was where there was close contact between the five people who are quarantining and the player who tested positive.

Scherzer said he was not on that team flight and travelled separately with his family.

The Nationals — who had planned to have a workout at their stadium on Wednesday, before it was called off because of rain — did not have a single player test positive during their six weeks of spring training camp in West Palm Beach, Florida, according to Rizzo.

“We’ve done so well in spring training,” Scherzer said. “Everybody across the game — we had seen so few positive cases across spring training as a whole. It just shows you how quickly that can turn. It can turn on a dime. We have to face it, and we have to overcome it.”

Rizzo said the team underwent a new round of COVID-19 tests Wednesday, as was previously scheduled — a combination of rapid tests and MLB-mandated saliva tests.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press

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