Four members of the Atlanta Braves, including All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, have tested positive for COVID-19.
Manager Brian Snitker also announced that veteran reliever Will Smith, right-hander Touki Toussaint and utility infielder Pete Kozma have also tested positive for the virus. Snitker said Freeman has a fever and "it's going to be a while" before he reports to camp, while Smith and Toussaint are asymptomatic.
According to league health policy, the identity of players who test positive cannot be revealed without their consent. However, Snitker said the four Braves players gave permission to have their names released.
"I think it's good for society and the industry to know this is a real deal. This virus is real, it's nothing to mess with," Snitker said.
On Friday, MLB and the MLBPA announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing, publishing that just 1.2% of samples collected found positive tests or 38 tests out of 3,185 samples. The league said that of those 38 positive tests, 31 came from players while seven resulted from staff members. The tests were administered prior to the workouts and full baseball activities, which began Friday.
If a player tests positive for the coronavirus, he must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart, with no fever for 72 hours, before he can rejoin a team.
MLB players began reporting to summer camp Wednesday to prepare for the upcoming 60-game regular season. Opening Day games are scheduled for July 23 and 24, and players are allowed to opt-out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. A handful of players, including Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Rockies infielder Ian Desmond, have already chosen to sit out the season.
Freeman is coming off a standout 2019 campaign where he hit .295 and recorded career highs in home runs (38) and RBIs (121). In October, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow.