Covid-19 issues wipe out Nationals MLB opener with Mets

Washington (AFP) –


Covid-19 issues forced the postponement of the Washington Nationals' season opener Thursday against the New York Mets, Major League Baseball announced, saying the game would not be made up Friday.

The announcement came a day after the Nationals said they had a player test positive for Covid-19 and four other players plus a staff member were also entering isolation after contact tracing.

Further contact tracing is ongoing but the results of tests taken Wednesday have not been made public.

"Without getting into details, it became clear to us that the safest course for both teams was to take advantage of the rain day we have and cancel the game," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN.

No players were identified as being positive or in contact tracing.

MLB said the game was "postponed because of ongoing contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization," and added, "out of an abundance of caution, the game will not be made up on Friday."

The Nationals were planning to raise their 2019 World Series championship banner before the home contest, a ceremony they did not have last year when fans were banned due to Covid-19.

About 5,000 spectators were expected at Nationals Park to see Washington ace pitcher Max Scherzer face Mets star Jacob deGrom.

The Nationals went through six weeks of pre-season training in Florida without a positive test but team president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo said the positive test was returned on Monday, the day the team flew from Florida to Washington.

The Washington player who tested positive must isolate for at least 10 days and be cleared by a medical committee as well as his own physician after a cardiac exam.