Baseball coping with virus


Baseball players may be highly muscled athletes in top shape, but they are also human, and many tested positive for the coronavirus as they prepared for the resumption of their sport this season.

As an indication the COVID-19 pandemic can afflict the healthy and the strong as well as the weak and the elderly, numerous Major League Baseball players received positive tests during their summer training camp periods leading up to today and Friday’s opening days for the sport.

Some players’ names were acknowledged for testing positive, and some chose not to have their names released. As is true of the general population among the approximately 14 million people around the world who have shown positive results, some players did become sick.

Atlanta Braves star first baseman Freddie Freeman was sidelined and admitted when his body temperature briefly spiked to 104.5 degrees, he was frightened and prayed his life would be spared.

Freeman previously tested negative, but during the first few days of July, he felt ill and got worse.

“That was the scariest night for me,” Freeman said of his high fever. He said he prayed to God, “Please don’t take me.”

Freeman rebounded and has been cleared to play baseball again, although it is not certain how strong he is feeling.

While Freeman’s account is more dramatic than most, many players received the bad news of a positive test, along with the accompanying worry, if not always the symptoms of the severe illness that has killed more than 143,000 Americans.

D.J. LeMahieu, second baseman for the New York Yankees, also was informed he had tested positive for the coronavirus. He was very surprised because he felt no symptoms.

“It was shocking,” he said. “It’s definitely a scary thing when you have something they have no cure for. I was lucky I wasn’t in contact with hardly anyone when I got the news. I really didn’t do a lot.”

He self-isolated at his home in Michigan before returning to New York to join up with the Yankees for practice.

Under Major League protocols for moving off the sick list and gaining permission to fraternize with team members, players must have two negative tests within 24 hours.

Several dozen players, some from other countries, including Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, have tested positive.

Players who tested positive include Derek Dietrich of the Cincinnati Reds, Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies, Delino Shields of the Cleveland Indians, Eduardo Rodriguez of the Boston Red Sox and Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals.

Several players with positive tests have already returned to their teams and are playing again.

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