A member of the Seattle Mariners’ traveling party tested positive for COVID-19, causing concern within the organization about potential spread due to a significant portion of players being unvaccinated, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN on Friday.
As more than half the teams in baseball exceed the 85% vaccination threshold for reduced health and safety restrictions, the Mariners find themselves well short of that number, sources told ESPN. The person who tested positive will isolate for at least 10 days, and any close contacts will be required to miss at least seven days if unvaccinated, according to the league’s protocol.
Vaccinated players who are asymptomatic are allowed to play immediately — a policy intended to incentivize vaccination.
On Friday, the Mariners are scheduled to play the San Diego Padres, who recently weathered a small COVID-19 outbreak but did not miss any games. The Washington Nationals’ outbreak at the beginning of the season pushed back their schedule, though it wasn’t as problematic as the outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals during the 2020 season.
Seattle is in a transitional season, having promoted top prospect Jarred Kelenic and starter Logan Gilbert to supplement a team that had gotten off to a surprisingly hot start, buoyed by outfielder Mitch Haniger and an overachieving bullpen. Even with Kelenic and Gilbert in the major leagues, the Mariners have one of the game’s best farm systems, with power-hitting outfielder Julio Rodriguez, ascendant shortstop Noelvi Marte and right-handers George Kirby and Emerson Hancock.