SAN DIEGO -- The Padres were without one of their star players for the first full-squad workout of preseason summer camp Friday at Petco Park.
Outfielder Tommy Pham tested positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic, and will need to test negative twice in a 24-hour period before he can take the field.
Pham won't be the last player to miss at least a day.
"I think what we're going to learn is this is going to be a very fluid process," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said. "You might have a full camp one day and not the next, because there is so much testing going on. ... It is literally going to be like every day."
Major League Baseball announced 1.2% of players and staff members who were tested when they arrived at camps tested positive. A total of 31 players and seven staff members tested positive among 3,185 tests. A number of tests were still pending, including one member of the Padres.
The operations manual for this season dictates that players (and members of the coaching and training staffs) be tested every other day. Further, players who are symptomatic and those with whom they have come in close contact must be tested and isolated pending the result.
"That's going to be part of the challenge throughout the year, just because of the testing," Preller said. "You could be COVID-free one day, and two days later you could be positive. That's why this thing is going to be a pretty fluid situation. Somebody tests positive and/or somebody has symptoms, now you start going through the whole protocol, you're going to start looking through the close contacts. You may end up pulling guys for the day who feel fine and have been totally clean with their tests. You're going to, honestly. Those things are all very realistic possibilities."
Add to that the potential for approximately 1% of tests returning a false positive, which multiple sources around baseball said they have been told by the league is the expectation. That means, based on MLB's plan to test some 17,000 people each week, that about 170 will produce a positive when the person tested does not have COVID-19.
A player testing positive is required to isolate away from the team, and he cannot return until he has two negative tests 24 hours apart. For those who were symptomatic, those symptoms (fever, respiratory issues) must have not been present for 72 hours. The players must also complete an antibody test and be cleared by a medical panel.
The potential for a half-dozen or more players to be sidelined for at least one game will be ever present in the minds of Preller and manager Jayce Tingler. The fact that positive tests will be unavoidable accentuates the need for players and those around them to be careful.