There’s a chicken pox outbreak in the Royals’ clubhouse and multiple players are infected

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One player with the flu getting a whole clubhouse full of players sick is pretty common in baseball, but the Royals have taken that to another level. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes that the Royals’ have a chicken pox outbreak and at least two players–outfielder Alex Rios and reliever Kelvin Herrera–are infected.

Chicken pox can be very dangerous for adults, so Rios and Herrera are expected to be out of action (and quarantined) for up to two weeks. McCullough reports that other Royals players and coaches are contacting their families to double-check if they already had chicken pox as kids, because symptoms often don’t reveal themselves for several weeks.

Team officials are expected to address the situation before Tuesday’s game against the Tigers. The Royals believe the infections are limited to only Herrera and Rios. The most at-risk players are those from countries in Latin America, where the chances of childhood inoculation are lower, experts say.

… The chickenpox virus spreads through the air or through bodily contact. The symptoms are well-known to parents, as itchy blisters overrun the skin and the body grapples with fatigue and fever. Chickenpox manifests in the same way for grown-ups, only patients suffer more and face complications such as pneumonia and brain infections, experts say.

Rios’ infection helps explain why the Royals went out and traded for another right-handed-hitting corner outfielder, Jonny Gomes of the Braves, prior to Monday night’s playoff eligibility deadline. Luckily for the Royals they’ve all but clinched the AL Central title already, but if other players are revealed as infected closer to the start of the playoffs it could be a major issue.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.