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Justin Turner celebrated with Dodgers after testing positive for COVID-19

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (red beard) tested positive for COVID-19, but still celebrated a World Series title on the field with teammates Tuesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (red beard) tested positive for COVID-19, but still celebrated a World Series title on the field with teammates Tuesday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed from Game 6 of the World Series Tuesday night, but returned to the field for postgame hugs, photos and celebration.

Fox TV announced Turner's positive test just after the Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Arlington, Texas, to capture their first championship since 1988. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and Turner later confirmed the result.

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Sources told ESPN, Fox Sports and the Southern California News Group that a lab informed MLB in the second inning of an inconclusive result from a test Turner took on Monday. Additional samples were taken Tuesday and showed Turner was positive. MLB then called the Dodgers and told them to remove Turner from the game.

Turner had been asked to isolate from teammates, but refused so he could celebrate with the Dodgers after their win.

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"It's a bittersweet night for us," Manfred said during a postgame interview on Fox. "We're glad to be done. I do think it's a great accomplishment for our players to get this season completed.

"But obviously we're concerned when any of our players test positive. We learned during the game that Justin was positive."

Turner went 0 for 3 in Game 6 before he was removed at the start of the eighth inning. The team did not explain his exit at the time. Turner was the first player confirmed to have COVID-19 since the MLB playoffs began in late September.

Turner did not join teammates initially for the on-field celebration after the final out, but Fox TV cameras later spotted him. He was shown embracing teammates and then sitting with teammates for a photo. He pulled his mask down at one point and removed it during the celebration.

"Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all," Turner tweeted early Wednesday. "Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine.

"Can't believe I couldn't be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team and unbelievably happy for the city of [Los Angeles]."

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Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters, "If there were people around him without masks, that's not good optics at all."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Friedman sat next to Turner -- none with masks -- for the team photo. Friedman said the Dodgers would be tested when they returned to their hotel.

"I can't state strongly enough how big of a role he played in the success of the organization, for him being a free agent not knowing how the future is going to play out, I don't think anyone was going to stop him from going out," Friedman said of Turner.

"From his standpoint, him having a chance to take a picture with the trophy was incredibly important and meaningful to him."

When asked why Turner was on the field, Roberts said he didn't know any additional information about the positive test result. He said he "didn't touch" Turner.

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