By Rob Rains
Mike Shildt expected coming into the Cardinals’ summer camp that there would likely be some of his players who would test positive for coronavirus, just because of the sheer numbers of players being tested.
That was part of the reason he was “disappointed but not surprised” to learn on Saturday that pitchers Genesis Cabrera and Ricardo Sanchez had tested positive.
“You somewhat expected for this to happen,” Shildt said, “not just with us but just based on the numbers. People come from different places and a lot of players I imagine, much like myself, were not tested prior to getting here. There was an expectation there was a pretty good chance we and the industry would have positive tests.”
The good news for both pitchers was that they were asymptomatic, which means after more testing they could join the team’s workouts in about five days if they are cleared medically.
Players who test positive and who are showing COVID-19 symptoms face a longer quarantined period before they would be allowed to practice.
An unknown for the Cardinals is whether there will be more positive tests when more results are received, most likely on Sunday.
Cabrera and Sanchez were on an MLB-chartered flight from the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, along with several other Cardinals including Carlos Martinez and prospects Ivan Herrera and Elehuris Montero.
“Hopefully nobody else is affected by it,” Shildt said. “That’s one of the reasons the protocols are in place for guys to be tested and quarantined and re-tested. There are some guys whose tests are still pending and beyond that I can’t really speak to it.”
The Cardinals had previously said they had one positive COVID-19 test before the camp opened, but have not released more information on whether that individual was a player or a staff member.
Major League Baseball announced on Friday that in the first round of tests conducted at training camp sites there were 31 players who tested positive and seven staff members out of more than 3,100 people tested.
Because of the positive tests, Shildt said the Cardinals are considering bringing in additional players to their summer training camp. Both Cabrera and Sanchez are left-handers.
“That’s something that’s being talked about in-house,” Shildt said. “No decisions have been made. We do have lefties still in our mix. Whether we add or who we add is still being determined.”
The Cardinals also don’t know when right-handed reliever Giovanny Gallegos will be able to travel from his home in Mexico to St. Louis. All the Cardinals have said about his status is that he has been delayed because of “travel issues.”
Cabrera split last season between the Cardinals and their Triple A team in Memphis. Sanchez was claimed off waivers from the Mariners in February.
The camp began on Friday with 22 pitchers on the 45-man roster. The team expects to open the season on July 24 with either 16 or 17 pitchers on their 30-man roster.
“We do have depth, we created the depth to start here,” Shildt said. “We’ve cut into the depth, especially on the pitching side. The good news is we have it. The good news is that both these guys are asymptomatic so we are very hopeful and optimistic they won’t be out terribly long. Nonetheless we are going to have to draw from some reserves that are there.”
Two left-handers who could be under consideration to join the camp are Rob Kaminsky and Zack Thompson.
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Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports