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The Phillies confirmed Friday that five players and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at their spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida.
This comes while Major League Baseball is negotiating a return-to-play deal with the MLB Players Association. It is a stark reminder of how much play could be affected if and when baseball does begin this season.
That is true of the other sports wanting to return to play as well.
The players and staff members were not identified. NBC Sports Philadelphia was the first to report the positive tests Friday.
In addition, the Phillies are awaiting test results on 20 other players, both major and minor leaguers, so the number of players and staff infected could increase.
None of the players and staff have been hospitalized, NBC Sports Philadelphia reported.
In a team statement, the Phillies said they have closed all their team facilities in Clearwater indefinitely, and they will remain closed "until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected."
According to the MLB's plans for restarting the season, there would be a spring training period held at each team's home stadium, possibly beginning by the end of June, with a season beginning sometime in mid- to late July.
But the players' union and owners have yet to reach agreement on the number of games that would be played, or whether players would be paid their full prorated salary or a percentage.
The owners last proposed a 60-game season while the players countered with a 70-game season. Both proposals stipulated the players would receive their full prorated salary.
The Phillies wouldn't say how the positive tests would affect the players' status if teams were allowed to start having a mini-spring training by the end of the month, which is less than the two-week quarantine period.
"In terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies’ 2020 season, the club declines comment, believing that it is too early to know," the team said in a statement.
"The first confirmed case occurred this past Tuesday, June 16," the Phillies' statement said. "In addition, 8 staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests."
John Middleton, a managing partner, added in the statement: "The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority.”