NEW YORK -- The coronavirus-hit St. Louis Cardinals, who haven't played a Major League Baseball game since July 29, won't take the field before Thursday after a three-game series against Pittsburgh was postponed Sunday.
MLB officials delayed the contests, set for Monday through Wednesday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, in the wake of more positive tests involving the Cardinals, who have had nine players and seven staffers test positive for COVID-19 since last week.
That includes two players, outfielder Austin Dean and relief pitcher Ryan Helsley, and an unidentified staff member who tested positive on Friday.
"In light of the most recent positive test results, MLB and the club believe it is prudent to conduct additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play," an MLB statement said.
The Cardinals stand 2-3 after winning their opening games at home against Pittsburgh on July 24-25, then losing to the Pirates and dropping two at Minnesota as MLB made its start after planned season openers in March were delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since then, the Cardinals have had four games postponed at Milwaukee, three more against Detroit delayed indefinitely and a three-game series this weekend against the Chicago Cubs postponed also.
The latest postponements leave the Cardinals 13 games to be sorted into the remaining schedule, 55 games to be played in 46 games, a hfty load even with doubleheader games being trimmed to seven innings each from the usual nine.
Some MLB teams have played as many as 17 games already with the league hoping to have every team play 60 games by September 27 ahead of expanded playoffs to crown a World Series champion by the end of October.
Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak was already frustrated before the latest games were wiped out to allow for more tests.
"It's definitely frustrating for everybody involved," he said Friday. "We're just going to have to take it one day at a time and hopefully we get through this and we get back to playing baseball soon."
The Cardinals spent six days quarantined in a Milwaukee hotel before being cleared to return to St. Louis, but being idled for a week at least after that has added to the struggle.
"I think stop-starts are difficult," Mozeliak said. "From players, staff to employees, emotionally we're pulling on a lot of different cords.
"Everybody involved just wants to get back to baseball but I know everybody involved too wants to be safe."
© Agence France-Presse
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