Athletics Wary of Season's Future as they Start First Road Trip in Seattle

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has warned the players' union that the sport may have to shut down if a better job of managing the coronavirus isn't done. Athletics' shortstop Marcus Semien sees the A's having had success staying healthy, but even at that, Oakland could do things better.
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News that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark that the sport may be shut down for the season if a better job of managing the coronavirus, left A’s shortstop Marcus Semien looking for answers.

Semien, the A’s player representative, is the club’s link with Clark, and he’s had conversations with the players association. But in some ways, he’s every bit in the dark as most of us.

“Over here, everything’s been OK,” Semien said. The A’s have had just one coronavirus test turn positive, and the player that was stricken, pitcher Jesus Luzardo, is back, healthy and likely to pitch against the Mariners Monday.

If there is baseball Monday. That’s the day Manfred told Clark he might be forced to take action. There were three games postponed Friday, the Cardinals at the Brewers, the Phillies vs. the Blue Jays in Buffalo and the Nationals at the Marlins.

“I don’t really have any answers regarding Manfred’s comments,” Semien said. “I just found out about this myself, and the only info I have is from the union as the player rep.

“We didn’t have any positive tests, so that’s the main thing. You jet keep your phone on you, make sure that you check in on any texts you might get from the trainers and just keep following the protocols, wearing a mask wherever you are.”

While the A’s ability to stay healthy has been good, they have made mistakes. On Matt Olson’s walkoff grand slam last Friday, socially distancing was not practiced in the postgame celebration. Olson wears a mask when on defense when there’s a runner on base, but masks in general are not part of the Oakland on-field persona.

Semien understands that more needs to be done.

“Certain things may need to get tightened up,” he said, “whether it's high fives … the things that we're so used to doing. We had the talk that we basically have to assume that the people around you have it, even though we know we don't have any positive tests.

“But that will get you to act in a safe manner. I know that.”

Manager Bob Melvin doesn’t like what he sees happening with other clubs, but “all we can control is what we do in our own clubhouse.”

“Obviously you’re concerned,” the manager said. “The more tests, the more teams, the more concern. We’ve been pretty good.”

Friday is the A’s first game on the road. The club is aware that most of spike in positive tests have come from teams on the road. Semien said the A’s players are staying in their rooms and ordering food to be delivered. Melvin stayed put, too.

“A lot of this has gone one with teams on the road,” Melvin said. “So, we have to be really careful.”

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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