Just like anyone involved with baseball, New York Mets manager Luis Rojas sat up and took notice of the news on Monday that there had been a COVID-19 outbreak within the Miami Marlins’ clubhouse over the weekend while in Philadelphia.
But he is still putting his trust in Major League Baseball and the Mets’ protocols to help navigate his team through the unprecedented 60-game sprint amid the pandemic.
“I saw the news this morning and you have to get concerned when you see something like that happening,” Rojas said. “At the same time, you have to be optimistic because this protocol put together by MLB and the way we’ve been operating… it’s been pretty good and we know that it can work.”
Rojas’ faith in the system is experiencing its first test this week as the Mets took a 3.5-hour bus drive to Boston for a home-and-home series against the Red Sox — their first road trip of the season and their first time away from Citi Field since returning to action.
“All the planning put together around to contain some of this… it’s something we have to trust,” Rojas said. “We’re optimistic that moving forward, it should help to keep guys healthy, which is a priority.”
“The best we can do is keep following that and keep being consistent on what we’ve done here.”
The same mindset has trickled down to his players, who mostly remain gung-ho about getting back to some semblance of normalcy, even if it’s as trivial as baseball.
“I talked to a few [of the players], they’re aware of what’s happening, but I’ve had previous talks with everyone here about the reality of something like this happening,” Rojas said. “That’s why the protocol that MLB put out there that we’re following since summer camp… we feel pretty good that we’re going to be safe… We’re definitely all concerned. There are a lot of things happening in the world right now.”
The Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak prompted Major League Baseball to postpone their home opener in Miami on Monday night against the Baltimore Orioles. They stayed in Philadelphia where they took two-of-three games in their opening series for further testing and isolation.
MLB also decided to postpone Monday night’s meeting between the Phillies and Yankees at Citizens Bank Park. Phillies players came in contact with the Marlins after multiple players tested positive earlier on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Yankees were poised to use the very same clubhouse the Marlins used just a day earlier.
During the exhibition ramp up toward Opening Day, the. Mets’ first opponents of the season — the Atlanta Braves — met the Marlins in preseason action. During that time, catchers Travis d’Arnaud (an ex-Met) and Tyler Flowers were shut down due to symptoms of a possible illness out of caution.
That doesn’t concern Rojas.
“I don’t think there is anything that really is hunting us, that may happen,” he said. “We feel pretty good about coming from home playing them.”