Kyodo News reports that two Yomiuri Giants players have tested positive for COVID-19. The players, shortstop Hayato Sakamoto and catcher Takumi Oshiro, are the first baseball players in Japan to test positive since NPB began its ramp-up to a scheduled June 19 opening day.
In response, the Giants canceled an exhibition game against the Seibu Lions scheduled for today and have announced that every player, coach and member of team staff will undergo additional testing.
The positive tests — and the results of the additional tests — present the first challenge to NPB’s COVID-19 protocols which were put in place in the efforts of the league playing a shortened 120-game season. They will likely also prove instructive to Major League Baseball as it works with the MLBPA on a plan for baseball to return in the United States.