Justin Turner will not be sanctioned by Major League Baseball for coming onto the field last week to celebrate the World Series title with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates after testing positive for COVID-19.
The third baseman was retired after seven innings of Game 6 against Tampa Bay on October 27 after the MLB informed the Dodgers of the test result, which was received in the sixth inning. He returned to the field after Los Angeles won 3-1 to claim the title, removed his mask and posed for a photo with his teammates.
“Our investigation revealed relevant additional information which, without exonerating Mr. Turner of responsibility for his conduct, helps put into context why he chose to leave the isolation room and return to the field,” said Friday. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. “First, Mr. Turner’s teammates actively encouraged him to leave the isolation room and return to the field for a photo. Many teammates felt they had been exposed to Mr Turner before and were willing to tolerate the additional risk.
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“Second, Mr. Turner believes he received permission from at least one Dodgers employee to return to the field to participate in a photograph. While Mr Turner’s belief may have been the product of miscommunication, at least two Dodgers employees did not say anything to Mr Turner as he walked out onto the field, which they say may have given the impression that his conduct was acceptable.
“Third, during the somewhat chaotic situation on the pitch, an unidentified person incorrectly told Mr. Turner that other players had tested positive, thus creating the impression in Mr. Turner’s mind that ‘he was chosen for isolation. Finally, Major League Baseball could have handled the situation more effectively. For example, in retrospect, a security guard should have been assigned to watch Mr. Turner when asked to self-isolate, and Mr. Turner should have been transported from the stadium to the hotel more quickly.
Manfred said he spoke to Turner and “I close this case by congratulating Justin for accepting his responsibilities, apologizing and pledging to set a positive example in the future.”
Turner said he watched the last two innings with his wife Kourtney in a clubhouse doctor’s office and assumed Dodgers officials had no objection to his return to the pitch. He also said that when he returned to the field he believed few people would be there and his plan was to take a quick photo with his wife.
“However, what was supposed to be a photo capturing us both turned into several greetings and photos where I briefly and recklessly removed my mask,” Turner said in a statement. “Looking back, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take this photo with my wife. I sincerely apologize to everyone on the field for not having appreciated the risks of returning to the field. I spoke with almost every teammate, coach and staff, and I never intended to make anyone uncomfortable or put anyone at risk.
Turner, who turns 36 on Nov. 23, became a free agent after signing a four-year, $ 64 million contract. It was the seventh season with the Dodgers, who won their first title since 1988, and the red-haired, bearded third baseman was key.
“No player has played a more important role in enabling the Dodgers to overcome the adversity created by the pandemic than Justin Turner, as he set an example for his teammates and advocated for improved safety measures that went to the “beyond the league’s demands,” said Dodgers president Stan Kasten. in a report. “Justin’s leadership played a big part in helping the Dodgers end the entire season safely.”
Turner became the first MLB player to test positive in 59 days. The Dodgers spent the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series at the Four Seasons Dallas in Las Colinas in a post-season bubble environment, and the MLB has not explained the factors surrounding the positive test.
“While the events following the conclusion of the World Series have been unfortunate, there is no doubt who Justin Turner is and what he means to his teammates, the Dodger organization and the city of Los Angeles.” , Kasten said.
Manfred said MLB is making its COVID-19 testing lab available during the offseason for underserved areas in communities where major league teams are based.