MLB Players Reportedly Can Apply to Return to Play Amid Positive COVID-19 Tests

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2020

An opening week logo is displayed at Citi Field during the New York Mets baseball practice, Wednesday, July 22, 2020, in New York. The Mets open the season in Friday against the Atlanta Braves. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Major League Baseball has reportedly instituted a new rule that will allow players to apply to return to the field even when they test positive for COVID-19.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the new rule lets those who test positive apply to return to play after 10 days even if that player is still testing positive. They will "very likely" be allowed to return after 14 days even if still positive because the thinking is people can still test positive even when they are no longer contagious in that time frame.

Heyman explained the league consulted with Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, when developing the rule.

This comes after outbreaks within the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals forced schedule adjustments and a number of postponed games.

Miami didn't play again after its July 26 win over the Philadelphia Phillies until Aug. 4, while St. Louis returned to the field Saturday for the first time since a July 29 loss to the Minnesota Twins. The Cardinals were put in a position where they will need to play 53 games in 44 days to complete their 60-game season in the expected time frame.

St. Louis played the Chicago White Sox in a doubleheader Saturday, which was the first of 11 doubleheaders for the National League Central team following its hiatus. It will also face the Chicago Cubs in doubleheaders on Monday and Wednesday.

While doubleheaders feature two contests that are seven innings each this year in an effort to make up games at a faster rate, that is still a grueling schedule for any team.

Games on Saturday and Sunday between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates were also postponed after Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and The Athletic reported a Reds player tested positive for COVID-19.