Cardinals All-Stars Molina, DeJong and four other players reveal positive tests for COVID-19

©St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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MILWAUKEE — In a social media post on Instagram, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina said he was “saddened” to reveal that he was one of the seven players who tested positive for COVID-19.

Through the team, five of his teammates also revealed that they had positive tests for COVID-19: All-Star shortstop Paul DeJong, relievers Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley, infielder Edmundo Sosa, and corner infielder Rangel Ravelo.

“I am saddened to test positive for COVID-19 even after continuing with the recommended prevention measures,” Molina wrote in Spanish on a post that came accompanied with a photo of him walking onto the field carrying his catching gear. His message continued, in Spanish: “I will do everything in my power to return as soon as possible for the Cardinals fans, the city of St. Louis, and my teammates.”

DeJong issued a statement, through the team: “I am disappointed to share that I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, even though I followed team protocols. I will approach my healing as I do all other things in my life — with education, commitment, and persistence. I look forward to re-joining the team soon and ask that you respect my privacy at this time.”

The Cardinals had 13 members of the traveling party test positive for COVID-19. All 13 have returned to their St. Louis-area homes.

One player declined to be identified by the team and has also not responded to requests for confirmation by a reporter.

Eight of the 13 had symptoms of the virus that ranged from coughs and headaches or low-grade fevers. The individuals with symptoms were not identified.

The remainder of the team stayed in quarantine in their downtown Milwaukee hotel. They have a scheduled flight home to St. Louis on Wednesday, but they must clear two consecutive days without another positive test before they are cleared for travel.

On Tuesday, the team learned, via an official, that they had cleared one day without a new positive test, putting them closer to leaving isolation.

The Cardinals had one new positive test in the 24 hours before Monday, and the other positives tests were confirmed from the weekend spike in those results.

Players have the right to exercise their medical privacy and decline to be identified as having tested positive. The identities of the players would likely have been revealed when the roster moves were made that the Cardinals began considering Monday evening as they prepare for their next possible game, Friday at home against the Cubs.

Six members of the team’s staff also tested positive for the virus over the past weekend. Media relations director Brian Bartow confirmed his positive test in a text to the media.

The Cardinals said Monday they will have to replace members of Mike Shildt’s coaching staff in the coming days.

Each player who tested positive will be out for at least eight days since their most recent positive test. To return to the team and the field, players must have consecutive negative tests — including a confirmation test from MLB’s lab — and they must be taken 24 hours apart. That begins the reentry process that also requires a player be symptom-free, go at least 72 hours without a fever, and pass a series of other exams, including an antibody test and a cardiac evaluation.

All seven players will go on the injury list in coming days, and the Cardinals will be able to replace them on the active roster.

The injury list for COVID-19 does not have a minimum number of days, so players are eligible to come off of it when they are cleared by protocols.

The positive tests leave the Cardinals without their cleanup hitter DeJong and their bedrock Molina. Whitley made his major league debut this season and had worked his way toward high-leverage assignments in the coming games.

In his post on social media, Molina asked for privacy as he recovers. The statement that he shared on Instagram was shared by the team.

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©2020 St. Louis Post-Dispatch