- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A vaccinated Washington Nationals player tested positive for the coronavirus Wednesday morning, manager Dave Martinez announced, and one unvaccinated player has been deemed a close contact.

Martinez didn’t name which players were impacted, but Washington placed starting pitcher Erick Fedde and reliever Tanner Rainey on the injured list Wednesday night without designation. The team recalled pitchers Paolo Espino and Kyle McGowin, who were on the taxi squad.

The vaccinated player is asymptomatic and could return more quickly to the team if he passes certain requirements and tests negative inside the normal 10-day isolation period. The unvaccinated player, who has entered quarantine, will need to pass the full quarantine period.

The full quarantine for a close contact lasts seven days, and the player must test negative on day five or later, among other requirements, in order to rejoin the team.

Martinez said neither player would have been in the starting lineup Wednesday night in Chicago. The positive test stems from a test taken Monday, and the team has alerted the Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks — who Washington faced over the weekend.

The Nationals have already gone through a coronavirus outbreak to begin the season. The first four games of the year were postponed because four players tested positive for the coronavirus. Nine others — seven players and two staff members — were in quarantine as close contacts.

Some members of the team received Johnson & Johnson vaccines while in St. Louis in early April. But the Nationals hadn’t reached the 85% threshold needed for loosened coronavirus protocols.

Washington isn’t alone in having a vaccinated player test positive. The New York Yankees experienced several breakthrough cases — positive cases for vaccinated individuals — last week. The Yankees had eight players, staffers and coaches test positive, although all but one were asymptomatic.

On Wednesday, the Nationals announced the mask mandate for fully vaccinated fans would be lifted beginning Friday at the park. The stadium will return to full capacity June 10.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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