Confusion over who has tested positive for COVID-19, who hasn’t, who came in contact with someone who has been infected, and who’s at practice and not at practice led Phillies general manager Matt Klentak to do the right thing Tuesday.
He received clearance from all the parties whose names have been connected to COVID-19 and presented everything as fact.
No more hearsay, no more rumor.
Klentak provided the following update:
- Hector Neris, who had tested positive, has cleared all his protocols and is in camp, ready to go.
- Tommy Hunter and Scott Kingery, both of whom tested positive, are feeling healthy. They are not in camp, however, because they are going through protocols. Klentak used the word “re-testing.” Players have to test negative twice before they can return to the group.
- Mikie Mahtook, a nonroster outfielder, tested positive during intake screening and is sidelined.
- Three members of the staff, bench coach Rob Thomson, bullpen coach Jim Gott and bullpen catcher Greg Brodzinski, were among the group that tested positive in Clearwater. They have yet to return to the group. “All three of them have been asymptomatic for some time but are still following the protocols before they can return,” Klentak said.
- Reliever Francisco Liriano has been absent from camp the last two days. Klentak said his absence was not connected to COVID-19.
- “He is evaluating the situation and whether he wants to play or not,” Klentak said. “I don't know exactly where that's going to go, but he's not been in camp the last few days and I'm not sure if he will return and if so when. But right now he's evaluating the situation before determining the next steps.”
Liriano had been projected to make the team.
Troubling lab errors
There was a troubling bit of news in Klentak’s update.
Outfielder Adam Haseley made his first appearance in camp Tuesday. It had been speculated that he was absent because maybe he came in contact with someone who was infected. That’s what kept Aaron Nola away for a few days.
But it turns out that Haseley missed four team workouts because of what Klentak called a “lab error” during the testing process.
“He took his tests as part of the intake screening process last week,” Klentak said. “The test was sent in with the rest of the tests and we never received a result from that. That's what happened. We're not pointing any fingers, but that's the reason his arrival to camp was delayed because we didn't have a result for his tests. Once we realized that we weren't going to get that result we retested him and he tested negative and today is the first day he could be back. There's really no issues whatsoever with Adam. He's done everything right. He's never been sick and we're happy to have him back on the field today.
“It's going to be critical that the testing is done reliably and done quickly. The league folks, the Players Association folks, and the folks at the lab are doing the best they can, and we absolutely understand that this is a huge undertaking and it's the first time that these parties have ever gone through that. So, we understand all that. Nevertheless, it's frustrating for a player like Adam Haseley or the Phillies when something like that happens, and our hope throughout the league is that as we work through these instances early, that we will be able to smooth them out for later in camp and later in the season.”