Unfortunately Blue Jays star outfielder Teoscar Hernandez has tested positive for Covid-19. When might he be able to return to the team?
That’s a good question, and one that we won’t have a definite answer on for a week or two. It’s going to depend on if Hernandez experiences illness and to what severity, and obviously that’s something that will develop over the coming days. For now we know that the Blue Jays outfielder was identified as a close contact to another case late last week, played his last game on April 8th, and starting experiencing some symptoms on Monday before his positive test announcement on Tuesday.
In a best case scenario the 28-year-old will have to quarantine for 10 days. Once he’s served that time in isolation, it’ll be up to the league to determine whether he’s safe to return to the team.
According to mlb.com, here’s how the process works:
"‘Individuals who test positive will be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days, receive appropriate care and monitoring from the Club medical staff, and be cleared by the Joint Committee and the individual’s team physician, following a mandatory cardiac evaluation and a determination that the individual no longer presents a risk of infection to others.”"
The language is a bit vague, and perhaps that’s by design. There doesn’t appear to be a hard timeline on when the clearance process would begin, so we can probably expect that Hernandez will be unavailable for at least two weeks even if he avoids more severe side effects of the virus.
The last two parts of the policy are what jump out to me the most, with one being the obvious statement that the player “no longer presents a risk of infection to others”. The second part is the “mandatory cardiac evaluation”, which is basically a fancy way of saying they want to make sure players are healthy enough to compete as pro athletes before they return to the field. You might recall that Eduardro Rodriguez of the Red Sox missed the 2020 season after being diagnosed with Covid-19, and then subsequently with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart as a result of his illness. Fortunately he’s been able to successfully return this year, but it was a serious situation.
Hopefully Hernandez won’t experience anything like that and will be be able to ride out his quarantine and get back to what he does best as soon as possible. His health will obviously come first though, and even in a best case scenario it’s going to be a couple of weeks before we see him in the lineup again.