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Nationals down five players, one staffer for opener due to COVID-19

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo (L) didn't disclose who tested positive for COVID-19. The positive result came from a test conducted Monday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo (L) didn't disclose who tested positive for COVID-19. The positive result came from a test conducted Monday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 31 (UPI) -- The Washington Nationals will be without five players and a staff member for their opening day game after a player tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced Wednesday.

"We are following MLB protocols and CDC protocols and working closely with the league to determine our next steps," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters. "It will be a lot of balls in the air until then."

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The positive result came from a test administered Monday while the team was still in Florida for spring training. The Nationals received the result early Wednesday morning after traveling home to Washington, where they are scheduled to host the division rival New York Mets on Thursday night for opening day.

The team's flight to Washington was the source of the close contact between the player who tested positive and the four teammates and staffer who are now self-isolating. All six individuals will miss the Nationals' opener, but their status moving forward is unclear.

Rizzo didn't identify any of the six individuals who are involved.

"We'll have some roster decisions to make depending on how this all shakes out before opening day," Rizzo said. "This is just a small blip on our radar screen. We're going to handle it and take it in stride."

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The Nationals didn't have any players test positive for the coronavirus during their six weeks of training camp in West Palm Beach, Fla.

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