Well, after a false start on Thursday, it is now official, the Washington Nationals will start their 2021 season on Tuesday, April 6th against the Atlanta Braves in Washington D.C.
Last night, the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball made it official that the Nationals will not play on Monday, April 5th 2021 but will play at least for now on Tuesday.
Without any new positive results in the latest round of testing, the available Nats players will hold a workout at Nationals Park on Monday to ramp up for their season debut on Tuesday.
Yesterday afternoon, General manager Mike Rizzo had a session with reporters where he said another player and Nationals staff member had been placed in mandatory quarantine after the D.C. Department of Health determined them to be “close contacts” to those who had previously tested positive for COVID. This brings the number of players/staff unavailable to 13: four players who tested positive in addition to the seven players and two staffers designated as close contacts.
According to the press release, the Nationals have received no new positive cases of COVID-19 since Friday. Additionally, Rizzo said that pitchers had been allowed to enter Nats Park individually with a catcher and a coach to complete their throwing regimen, but there had been no group activities for position players allowed over the weekend.
Rizzo has made it clear that he believes that all the healthy players need to work out to prepare for their opener. “It makes a lot of sense for baseball, player protection-wise, to have these guys go through their paces in a full workout before we take the field and go from zero to 100 miles an hour without working out for a very long period of time,” Rizzo said during yesterday’s press conference.
The Braves are coming off a three-game sweep by the Philadelphia Phillies, so having a day off for the Braves might be something that they also welcome. According to Braves manager Brian Snitker, the Braves planned to travel to D.C. last night.
According to MLB.com, Drew Smyly will make his first start for the Braves on Tuesday, while Max Scherzer will take the ball in what could be his last Opening Day start for the Nats at 4:05 pm ET. Which players will be taking the field behind Scherzer and which will be in quarantine?