The very first weekend of MLB summer camps proved to be a logistical nightmare, with the Angels one of a handful of teams having issues with the timeliness or availability of coronavirus tests, per multiple reports.
Monday’s workouts at Angel Stadium were originally set to begin at 9 a.m., though were postponed first to noon, and then 1 p.m. because of delays in testing.
Sample collectors did not show up at Angel Stadium or Blair Field, on Sunday, prompting players to administer their own tests, which the team then shipped to Major League Baseball’s testing lab in Utah, according to a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to comment. Blair, the Angels’ alternate training site for about half of the team’s 60-man player pool, is near Cal State Long Beach.
The Angels were not alone. The A’s were supposed to have their first full-squad workout on Sunday, but their position players tested on Friday weren’t yet cleared to play, per Shayna Rubin at the San Jose Mercury News, because the tests weren’t shipped to the testing facility in Utah until Monday morning, foiled by both the July 4 holiday and Sunday shipping.
“Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with summer camp,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, summer camp and the 2020 season are at risk.”
Astros general manager James Click said in a statement, “Despite these delays over the holiday weekend, we’re optimistic that the this process will be ironed out,” and Angels GM Billy Eppler seemed to agree.
#Angels GM Billy Eppler said he has spoken at length with MLB officials regarding testing snafus. Wouldn't disclose reasons for no-show of testers Sunday but said, "I trust that this was more of a one-time thing, more than anything else. That’s my read of the situation."— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) July 6, 2020
Whether this was a first-weekend blip or the harbinger of an ongoing problem, MLB needs to solve this fairly soon. Results of intake testing within 24-48 hours, then once players are cleared they are tested every other day, with results expected the next day.
From MLB’s operations manual: “The specific testing schedule for each club will be determined by [Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc.], in consultation with the clubs and the joint committee, with the goal of ensuring expedited result reporting (approximately 24 hours) at all times.”
Major League Baseball issued a statement Monday, saying the laboratory in Utah is operating on an everyday schedule starting July 5 through the end of the World Series.
“We have addressed the delays caused by the holiday weekend and do not expect a recurrence,” MLB’s statement said. “We commend the affected clubs that responded properly by cancelling workouts.”
We are 17 days away from real games getting played. It’s one thing for workouts to be postponed, which puts teams at a competitive disadvantage as it is, but having to postpone games due to testing delays would be another story. We’ll see if things get ironed out.