HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals delivers the pitch against the Houston Astros during the second inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Five Washington Nationals players will miss Thursday’s Opening Day after someone tested positive for COVID-19


The Washington Nationals will be without five players for Opening Day on Thursday following a positive COVID-19 test. Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post was first with the unfortunate news.

Per Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, one player tested positive and four others were deemed close contacts along with a staff member. Rizzo also acknowledged he would have to make some roster moves ahead of Thursday’s Opening Day tilt against the New York Mets. He also put to rest any concerns of postponement.


JB’s Take

Once again, another cruel reminder that the coronavirus does not discriminate. Granted, MLB has done a fantastic job with its health and safety protocols and seen minimal positive tests. As of numbers released on Mar. 26, only 0.02% of tests came back positive.

This just means we know what we’ve always known: mask up, maintain a safe distance, and stay safe.

On the baseball side, there is still no word as to who tested positive and it will probably stay that way. Even so, this is the last thing the Washington Nationals needed going into Opening Day. The team went on a miracle run from the NL Wild Card Game all the way to beating the feared Houston Astros in the 2019 World Series. Yet, the pandemic-shortened 2020 season denied them a proper opportunity to defend their title.

Thankfully, this occurred early enough in what is expected to be a full 162-game season. Here’s hoping that the affected players and personnel are only out a short amount of time and return to the field soon.

The first pitch between the Nationals and Mets is set to take place Thursday at 7:09 p.m. on ESPN. Max Scherzer will face Jacob deGrom in a battle of NL Cy Young winners.

Stay tuned to ESNY for more updates on this story!

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.