When the 60-game regular season begins later this month, the Minnesota Twins may be without slugging first baseman Miguel Sano. The club announced Saturday that Sano is away from the team after testing positive for COVID-19. They did not provide a timetable for his return. Twins utility man Willians Astudillo, righty Edwar Colina and infielder Nick Gordon have also tested positive.
Because COVID-19 is a "non-work-related" injury, it is subject to the privacy guidelines in the collective bargaining agreement. That means Sano & Co. had to give the Twins permission to announce they tested positive. Without their permission, the Twins would not have been able to discuss their absences from summer camp.
MLB created a new COVID-19 injured list with no minimum or maximum stay. It can be used not only when a player tests positive, but also when a player shows symptoms or has contact with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19. A player must meet certain criteria to be activated off the COVID-19 list, including two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
MLB announced Friday that 3,185 samples were collected during intake testing this past week and 38 came back positive (31 players and seven non-player personnel). The testing results are not complete -- the Athletics and Brewers are still awaiting their final results -- but the 1.2 percent positive rate is promising. The NBA had a positive rate over seven percent, for example.
Sano, 27, hit .247/.346/.576 with 34 home runs in 105 games in 2019. He is set to move from third base over to first base in deference to Josh Donaldson this season. The versatile and un-strikeout-able Astudillo had an opportunity to win a bench spot in summer camp. Colina and Gordon were expected to spend the year at the alternate training site.
Earlier on Saturday the Braves announced first baseman Freddie Freeman, closer Will Smith, and two others have tested positive for COVID-19. Freeman has a fever and is "going to be a while" until he can rejoin the team. Royals catcher Salvador Perez has tested positive as well. He is asymptomatic and in good spirits.
COVID-19 attacks the respiratory system. The long-term effects are still unclear but there is evidence it can damage the lungs, heart, and brain in some cases.
This article was originally published on CBSSports.com on July 4, 2020.