The Houston Astros will be without eight pitchers for the time being because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
General manager James Click addressed the situation, but didn't specify if any of the players tested positive for the coronavirus:
"Part of the reason that so many players are away from camp for health and safety [protocols] is because we want to cast a wide net. And the protocols cast a wide net to make sure if there are delays between contagious stages and positive test results, that those don't lead to an outbreak.
"We are following Major League Baseball's health and safety protocols and this is what they call for. We and the league believe that, by following them, we will ensure the rest of the guys are not exposed and we can continue to get ready for the season."
Per Major League Baseball's health and safety protocols established for this season, players and on-field personnel receive PCR testing "at least every other day" during spring training, the regular season and playoffs.
Symptoms screens and temperature checks will be recorded at least twice per day. Any individual who tests positive is required to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days and will only be cleared to play after undergoing "a mandatory cardiac evaluation and a determination that the individual no longer presents a risk of infection to others."
In the most recent test results released by MLB and the MLB Players Association on Feb. 26, a total of 15 tests came back positive out of 5,236 tests conducted.
Five of the eight pitchers who were sent home by the Astros have appeared in at least one spring training game.
Houston is scheduled to play the Miami Marlins in a seven-inning spring game and its B squad will play the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.