Chicago Baseball

MLB coronavirus

Rizzo Questions Player Safety After Team Left in Clubhouse for Hours Before Rain Delay

What happened leading up to the postponement had one of the team's star players criticizing

Anthony Rizzo #44 of the Chicago Cubs looks on against the Minnesota Twins

The Chicago Cubs weren't able to play their game Thursday, but it wasn't because of coronavirus concerns. It was because of weather.

But what happened leading up to the postponement had one of the team's star players criticizing.

As the Cubs waited for word on whether their game against the Reds would be played, Anthony Rizzo took to Twitter to question whether the health of the players was at risk.

"Player safety?" he tweeted. "@mlb let’s sit around for 8 plus hours inside the clubhouse.. I’m sure I can find that somewhere in the 113 page player safety protocol."

He had earlier tweeted an image of the weather radar at the Reds questioning when the window for play might be.

"Asking for some friends... maybe check at @HomeDepot for one?" the tweet read.

It was a problem the Cubs Manager David Ross had already eluded to earlier in the day.

"You don't want guys sitting around a visiting clubhouse all day," Ross said pregame Thursday. "We've had buses since 1 o'clock coming here. I just don't want my players sitting indoors with all that we're dealing with right now. The sooner we can make a decision on if we think we can play the game or not, the better."

Ultimately, the game was postponed and no makeup date announced.

A week into its virus-shortened 60-game season, Major League Baseball is scrambling to adjust its schedule.

The Marlins haven't played since Sunday because of an outbreak that's infected 17 players and two staff members. Miami's situation has also led to schedule changes for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, meaning eight of baseball's 30 teams had their plans altered during the first nine days of the 67-day season.

The infected Marlins left Philadelphia in a sleeper bus Friday to return to Miami, where they will remain together in quarantine, a person familiar with the situation told the AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team’s movements hadn’t been announced, said none of the Marlins have shown serious symptoms.

The rest of the team will spend the weekend in isolation in Philadelphia, where the Marlins have been stranded since their outbreak began. It's uncertain when or where they will next play.

Officials were concerned that the latest Marlins positive test result came five days after the team was last together, when the Marlins beat Philadelphia.

Friday's game between St. Louis and Milwaukee was also postponed after two Cardinals employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

The league announced the schedule change hours before the game was to be played. It said the postponement in Milwaukee is "consistent with protocols to allow enough time for additional testing and contact tracing to be conducted.”

The teams plan to resume their schedule Saturday night at Miller Park, pending results from the testing and contact tracing.

“We are supportive of Major League Baseball’s decision to postpone today’s game and look forward to playing our home opener as soon as conditions safely allow," Brewers general manager David Stearns said in a statement. "The health and safety of our players and employees are, and will continue to be, our top priorities.”

Two other games scheduled for Friday involving the Marlins, Nationals, Blue Jays and Phillies had already been postponed because of an outbreak among Miami players and two positive tests on Philadelphia's coaching staff.

The Cardinals played in Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday before a scheduled day off Thursday. The Twins hosted Cleveland on Thursday night, meaning the Indians likely used the same visiting clubhouse as St. Louis. Minnesota is scheduled to host the Indians again Friday night.

To help makeup all the postponements, MLB and the players’ union agreed Thursday that doubleheaders this season will become a pair of seven-inning games, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no announcement.

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