SAN DIEGO (AP) — Four Seattle relievers were placed on the COVID-19 injured list Friday after the Mariners reported a positive test within the team.
The Mariners did not identify who tested positive.
Those placed on the IL were right-handers Robert Dugger, Will Vest and Drew Steckenrider, and left-hander Anthony Misiewicz.
“The No. 1 priority obviously is the health and safety of our players and everybody understanding the importance of getting vaccinated,” manager Scott Servais said before the opener of a three-game series with the San Diego Padres. “But it is an individual choice and unfortunately not all of our guys are vaccinated, so it’s something we have to deal with like other teams have had to deal with throughout Major League Baseball.
“It’s real, it’s out there, it is affecting our roster and we’ll try to deal with it as best we can.”
Servais said he told his players several weeks ago that “you may not be positive but the fact that you maybe were in close contact with that person or you are not completely vaccinated will cost you time away from the team where you do go on a COVID IL, and that’s what we’re facing right now. Take my emotions aside; they really don’t matter. It’s about trying to keep our players healthy and doing the right thing.”
He added that even though getting vaccinated is a personal choice, “it does affect a lot of other people.”
Asked if this might prompt more players to get vaccinated, Servais said: “I don’t know. I know a few of our players have just bought themselves a ticket to spend the next 10 days at the Omni Hotel in San Diego, as they’ll be quarantined here. They will not travel with us going forward until that 7-to-10 day period expires and they can rejoin the team or try to get back in shape again after being out for 7-to-10 days.
“I would hope that a few more might jump on board and get the vaccine but you can only hope. I can’t force anybody to do it.”
Servais said players who are vaccinated and were in close contact with the positive test might be able to return to the team more quickly versus the ones who are not vaccinated. He said the entire team was retested Friday morning and will get those results back Saturday.
“I hope there’s not more positives. If there is, then we’ll have to deal with that. ... We’re not out of the woods yet in this particular instance.”
As planned, the Mariners activated right-hander Keynan Middleton (strained right biceps) from the 10-day IL.
In corresponding moves for the four players placed on the IL, the Mariners recalled left-hander Aaron Fletcher and right-handers Wyatt Mills and Yohan Ramírez from Triple-A Tacoma and selected the contract of infielder Eric Campbell from Triple-A Tacoma.
MLB said Friday that two more teams have been able to relax coronavirus protocols after 85% of their players and other on-field personnel completed vaccination, raising the total to 14 of the 30 clubs.
Servais said the Mariners “are trending in the right direction but we’ve still got a ways to go.”