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MLB teams not allowed to identify COVID-19 positive players during season

The Houston Astros and other MLB teams will not specify which players test positive for the coronavirus as part of the league's plan for a shortened 2020 season. File Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI
The Houston Astros and other MLB teams will not specify which players test positive for the coronavirus as part of the league's plan for a shortened 2020 season. File Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI | License Photo

July 1 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball teams will not be allowed to publicly divulge which players test positive for the coronavirus during the shortened 2020 season.

Players will be placed on a COVID-19-related injured list, but they won't be specified as COVID-19 positive and will publicly designated on a general injured list. Players on the list will not require a positive test and can be placed on the list due to exposure to the coronavirus or if they exhibit symptoms that require self isolation.

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Players can reveal their test results if they choose to do so.

The 60-game MLB season is scheduled to start July 23 or 24 after it was suspended in mid-March due to the pandemic.

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New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer both said Tuesday that the Health Insurance Policy and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will prohibit teams from divulging the names of any player who tests positive for COVID-19.

"Major League Baseball's guidelines prohibit us from discussing anything COVID-19, because it's not a work-related injury," Cashman told reporters.

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"We might not be able to speak to why someone is unavailable, because it's my understanding that we might not be able to validate any COVID-19 circumstances. I believe that you'll be left to try to figure that out, and you'll have to user your journalistic superpowers as you do so well. That's my understanding right now, but this is an emerging situation."

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Hoyer said teams are allowed to mention the number of players who test positive. Cashman said there has been one confirmed case of COVID-19, which led to a hospitalization, in the Yankees organization. He also said the entire Yankees roster and coaching staff plans to report for the 2020 season.

"We're allowed to talk about numbers, but we're not allowed to give individual names," Hoyer told ESPN. "It's up to those individuals to decide if they want to announce it.

"As a group, with the media, we're going to have some conversations about what we can talk about and what we can't talk about. We're not at liberty to say which injured list a player is placed on."

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Players and team owners have also agreed to a 2020 operations manual for the 2020 season, which includes extensive health and safety protocols. Players who test positive for the coronavirus will be instructed to self isolate.

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