The Cleveland Guardians reported no new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, a day after an outbreak inside its club caused a delay in Chicago and sent coach Terry Francona and five coaches home from a road trip.
The team said coach Karl Willis will serve as the club’s acting manager for a three-game series this weekend in Minnesota. Willis gave birth to twins from 1991 to 1995.
Cleveland was on holiday Thursday.
In a statement, the team’s chief of baseball operations, Chris Antonetti, said the team will continue to test individuals and conduct contact tracing.
Antonetti said Willis “will be supported by other individuals throughout the organization so that members of our coaching staff can join the team.”
So far, no player has tested positive for the virus.
Francona learned he tested positive on Wednesday, about two hours before the first scheduled pitch. Soon after, Major League Baseball called off the Guardians series finale against the White Sox — the first majors to be postponed due to coronavirus-related issues in 2022 — so more testing could be done.
The 63-year-old Francona, who has addressed major health issues in the past two seasons, returned to Cleveland on Thursday with coaches and members of the team’s travel group who also tested positive.
The team said Francona was put into health and safety protocols alongside bench coach DeMarlo Hill, first base coach Sandy Alomar, third base coach Mike Sarbo, hitting coach Chris Valica, assistant shooting coach Joe Torres and hitting analyst Justin Toll.
Hill took his place when Francona departed last July, and Omar served as acting team manager for most of the 2020 season.
The Guardians are expected to bring in some junior coaches and coaches to fill the league’s main staff in the meantime.
The team said an additional update will be provided Friday prior to the opening of the team’s club in Minneapolis.
Wednesday’s delay – the game will be part of the split header on July 23 – raised questions about whether teams should go back to some of the MLB’s stricter protocols in 2020.
The Guardians, whose outbreak was smaller earlier this season, discussed mask policy on Wednesday before Francona’s positive test prompted the team to do more testing and contact tracing.
After playing three games against the Twins, the Guardians will miss May 23 before hosting the Cincinnati Reds for two.
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