Manfred confident MLB can get through playoffs despite virus

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, left, speaks with fans as he arrives at Nationals Park for the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals opening day baseball game, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

NEW YORK – Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says he's confident his sport can get through the regular season and postseason without being stopped by the coronavirus, though not every club might play all 60 games and winning percentage could be used to determine playoff teams.

During an interview Saturday with The Associated Press, Manfred said Major League Baseball knows which player introduced COVID-19 into the clubhouse of the Miami Marlins. Miami and Philadelphia both postponed games for an entire week.

“I think that if everybody does what they are supposed to do, we can continue to play, have a credible season and get through the postseason,” Manfred said.

Just 1 1/2 weeks into a pandemic-delayed regular season shortened from 162 games per team to 60, the coronavirus has forced 19 postponements in 11 days, including St. Louis' three-game weekend series at Milwaukee.

The virus also prompted at least two more players to opt out Saturday: Brewers All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain and Miami second baseman Isan Díaz.

At least 18 Marlins players have been infected along with three St. Louis Cardinals. One St. Louis player has an inconclusive test.

Manfred had what he said was a constructive conversation Friday with union head Tony Clark, and expects stepped-up efforts by players and teams to adhere to special virus protocols put in place by MLB and the players’ association.

“It is what the public health experts have been saying from the beginning about this, that there is no one big magic fix,” Manfred said.