The Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates are scheduled to play two games in Puerto Rico at the end of May. And now players from both teams are concerned about the Zika virus.
The virus, which can be transmitted via mosquitos, has not been transmitted in that fashion in the continental U.S., but there have been nearly 450 confirmed Zika cases contracted in Puerto Rico. The continental U.S. cases — over 350 of them — have all been tied to people traveling to places where there are outbreaks, such as Puerto Rico.
MLB and the union are talking with the players and are looking at Centers for Disease Control guidelines about how to ensure player safety and the prevention of birth defects to any children of players who may become affected. That includes guidelines about abstaining from reproductive sex for up to six months. But that’s obviously not the greatest comfort to some of the players:
“We recognize the importance of the trip,” Marlins pitcher Craig Breslow said. “But at the same time, our health and the health of our families is paramount. There are guys who are uncomfortable engaging in the lifestyle changes being recommended by the CDC,” he said. “I’m not sure that’s fair to ask of 20- to 30-year-old men who are potentially looking to start families or expand families.”
As of now, officials with Major League Baseball, the Marlins and Pirates expect the games to be played as scheduled May 30-31.