After a weeklong interruption to their brief season, the Miami Marlins are healthy again and ready to play baseball games.
Many of the Marlins players have been quarantined in Philadelphia since the last weekend of July, when they took two of three games from the Phillies to open the season. However, a rampant outbreak of COVID-19 shut the team down and forced the infected players back to South Florida on sleeper buses.
According to MLB, Miami had 21 confirmed virus cases, with 18 of them being players. In all, 10 games have been postponed, but four of them will be made up from Tuesday to Thursday at Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The Marlins are scheduled to play the Orioles Tuesday night and Thursday night, though Hurricane Isaias may be a factor in the first meeting. The clubs are slated for a Wednesday twi-night doubleheader.
None of the Marlins players or staff have turned up positive in recent tests, and the club was cleared Monday to travel to Baltimore. Left-hander John Means (0-0, 19.29 ERA) will start for Baltimore on Tuesday.
Means, an All-Star as a rookie last year, had a poor first start this year, allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees on July 30. He will be opposing the Marlins for the first time in his career.
Miami’s active roster will be a cobbled-together group of 30 featuring the available regulars plus players who were recently promoted or acquired from other clubs. The organization has not released the names of the 18 players who came up positive.
However, one player missing will be promising second baseman Isan Diaz, who opted out of the season via an Instagram post on Saturday.
“This has been a tough week to see so many of my teammates come down with this virus, and see how quickly it spreads,” said Diaz, 24, who consistently tested negative and is the first Marlins player to opt out.
Outfield prospect Monte Harrison, who like Diaz joined the Marlins in the 2018 trade that sent eventual season MVP Christian Yelich to Milwaukee, was added to the 30-man roster and is expected to make his big league debut soon.
Miami shored up its bullpen over the weekend by trading for Cleveland right-hander James Hoyt and Baltimore southpaw Richard Bleier, then claimed lefty Brian Moran off waivers from Toronto.
Winners of five of eight, including a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays last weekend, Baltimore is playing without regular third baseman Rio Ruiz (right shoulder soreness), shortstop Jose Iglesias (left quad soreness) and first baseman Chris Davis (knee soreness).
Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde and his team flew to Miami early last week for the games that never happened. Then they lost twice to the New York Yankees in games that were moved up before three consecutive wins over the Rays.
The sweep was the Orioles’ first since the 2018 campaign. Baltimore’s pitching staff, which recorded 10 strikeouts Sunday, set a club record with its fifth straight game with double-figure whiffs.
“We’re adjusting on the fly,” Hyde said of his streaking Orioles. “It’s a dodge and weave. Every day there’s something new. Tomorrow, there’s probably going to be something else. I just think that we’re staying flexible.
“I knew that there was something that was going to have to be on the schedule there at some point this next week.”
–Field Level Media