Major League Baseball lashed out Wednesday at Dodger third-baseman Justin Turner, who was pulled from the team’s championship-clinching World Series game due to a positive COVID-19 test, but left isolation to celebrate with the team, sometimes without a mask on.
According to a statement issued by the league, Turner was placed into isolation during Tuesday night’s game in Texas “for the safety of those around him.”
“However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others,” according to MLB. “While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”
According to the league, additional COVID-19 tests were performed Tuesday night on the Dodgers, and both the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays were tested again Wednesday morning.
It was unclear when the teams will be permitted to leave Texas, with the league stating, “their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the agency was working with the team or might require the team to isolate or quarantine upon their return.
The MLB Commissioner’s Office has begun a “full investigation into this matter.”
Turner joined the championship celebration on the field at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, including holding the Commissioner’s Trophy, kissing his wife Kourtney and sitting next to manager Dave Roberts for a team picture, all without a mask.
Turner has been with the Dodgers since 2014 and is a free agent. He will turn 36 on Nov. 23.
After the game, Turner tweeted, “Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA. #WorldSeriesChamps.”
Asked on Tuesday night about Turner’s presence on the field despite a positive coronavirus test, Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said, “From his standpoint, him having a chance to take a picture with the trophy was incredibly meaningful to him. It’s hard for me to say specifically about the on-field because I didn’t see everything that happened or didn’t.”
Friedman acknowledged that the team’s travel plans were up in the air.
“Subsequent tests we’re going to take are really important to figure out what we do and to make sure that any of us that are potentially positive don’t spread it to other people,” he said Tuesday night. “Obviously from our standpoint, that contact tracing (figuring) out who’s been around him and the tests are all going to be incredibly important from this point forward. Before we are to interact with other people I think it is important for us all to clear the requisite testing hurdles before we do that.”
Turner was removed from the game before the start of the eighth inning, then was “quarantined in a doctor’s office off to the side,” Friedman said.
Ken Rosenthal, a reporter on Fox’s Major League Baseball telecasts, tweeted that the result from a coronavirus test Turner took Monday came back in the second inning.
Turner’s test from Tuesday “was then expedited, and when it came back positive, he was removed from the game,” Rosenthal tweeted.
The team issued a statement Wednesday that did not mention Turner or his positive test, but acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic will eliminate any chance of a victory parade.
“This season was everything we believed it could be. It was just missing one thing: the best fans in baseball,” according to the team. “While the wait for a World Championship is finally over, a celebration worthy of our great fans and the city of Los Angeles will unfortunately have to wait until it is safe to do so. We can’t wait to celebrate together.”