Juan Soto of nationals tested positive for coronavirus ahead of 2020 MLB opening day game against Yankees

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Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Nats general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters, including Athletic’s Jesse Dougherty. Soto to miss Thursday night’s 2020 season opener against the Yankees at Nationals Park in Washington DC

Soto, 21, had arrived late at summer camp because he was in quarantine due to contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. It is not known when the positive test took place. Rizzo said Soto is currently asymptomatic.

Soto appears to be the third domestic player to test positive for COVID-19. Two players had tested positive on July 5, after the league’s first round of testing. The Nationals also had two players – Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross – who retired from the 2020 season in late June. Soto joins Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo, among others, as players who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

MLB’s latest round of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests were promising, showing a new positive COVID-19 rate of 0.05%. But it’s unclear how test scores will be affected once the season begins and teams start traveling to opponents’ ball parks. The issue of rapid and reliable COVID-19 testing is one of the biggest off-court questions MLB faces this season.

MLB has created a new list of injured people linked to COVID-19 to help navigate the pandemic this season. There is no minimum or maximum stay, and for a player to return they must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart, be symptom-free for 72 hours, and receive approval from team doctors.

The Nationals did not include Soto when they announced their 30-man lineup for opening day:

The youngster was a star of the national championships last season where he posted a slash line of .282 / .401 / .548 (138 OPS +) in 150 games. Soto finished tied for most domestic tours (34) with Anthony Rendon, and is the centerpiece of Washington’s offense.

Soto finished with the club’s fifth-best WAR (4.6), behind Stephen Strasburg, Rendon, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, only in his second league season. In 2018 Soto finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year poll and in 2019 he finished ninth in the NL MVP vote. During the 2019 national championship run, Soto punctuated the Nats’ offense, hitting .277 / .373 / .554 in 17 playoff games. In Game 6 of the World Series, Soto delivered a straight home run.

Although the coronavirus is considered a respiratory disease, the disease can affect a number of systems and organs. This includes the possible effects on the heart and brain. More than 140,000 Americans have died this year from COVID-19.

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