The season-opening series involving the Washington Nationals and New York Mets was postponed Friday as the fallout in the COVID-19 outbreak among the Nationals throw into question when Washington's year would begin.
At least three Nationals players have tested positive, and the team suspects another player having an inconclusive outcome is positive as well, leading to the postponement of the scheduled Opening Day match Thursday. Games on Saturday and Sunday were postponed as well and will be composed throughout the rest of the year, as the teams have been scheduled to play 19 games from each other as National League East rivals.
The Mets will begin their season Monday at Philadelphia. When Washington plays will depend on the outcomes of contact tracing the team has undertaken in the aftermath of the outbreak.
Nationals staff and players have remained isolated in recent days, along with the team expected that its string beginning Monday from the Atlanta Braves would not be imperiled too.
"For the most part, the whole team has been -- we place them in lockdown and they are self-quarantining," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a videoconference with reporters Thursday.
Rizzo said among those players testing positive had a fever, while the others were not displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
The jointly negotiated protocol involving Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association mandates a weeklong quarantine for someone deemed in close contact with individuals who have tested positive, and people determined to get COVID-19 must isolate for 10 or more days.
Outbreaks on St. Louis and Miami last year disrupted the teams but ultimately did not derail them, as both created the postseason. The Nationals, who have playoff aspirations, will start their period short-handed, as individuals people who have tested positive will be placed on the COVID-19 injury list.