MLB All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman was among four Atlanta Braves players to test positive for coronavirus, manager Brian Snitker announced Saturday.
Snitker said it could be “a while” until Freeman returns, as the 30-year-old is still battling a fever and “not feeling great.” Freeman is the most prominent MLB player known to have contracted the disease.
Will Smith, Touki Toussaint and Pete Kozma also tested positive for the virus, Snitker said.
Snitker said Toussaint and Smith, both relief players, have been asymptomatic. The status of infielder Kozma is unclear.
Teams are permitted to release the names of individual players who have tested positive for coronavirus only if the player gives them permission.
All four players must abide by MLB protocol and immediately self isolate. They will need to test negative twice over a 24-hour span before returning to the field. Spring training 2.0 has been underway over the past few days at teams’ respective ballparks.
The development comes after MLB announced Friday that 31 players and seven staff members, across 19 teams, tested positive for COVID-19 in the first round of league-wide coronavirus testing. At least two teams — the Brewers and Athletics — were not included in this round of testing as their testing had not yet been completed.
The 38 positive tests represented 1.2 percent of the 3,185 tests.
The NBA’s first round of coronavirus testing resulted in 16 positive cases for players, or 5.3 percent of the 302 tested. MLS said it had a positive test rate of 2.7 percent (18 of 668) for players.
According to Johns Hopkins, the national seven-day rate of positive tests is 7.4 percent as cases continue to rise nationwide.
Freeman, set career-highs in home runs (38) and RBIs (121) with a .295 batting average last season. He underwent surgery in October on his right elbow to remove three loose bodies.
Stikner also said Braves first-base coach Eric Young has decided not to participate in the 2020 season because he is considered high-risk for COVID-19.