MLB investigating Dodgers player who left isolation to celebrate World Series victory, after testing positive for coronavirus

Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

ARLINGTON, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Major League Baseball is launching an investigation into Los Angeles Dodgers’ player Justin Turner after he broke MLB protocols and celebrated the team’s World Series win on the field after testing positive for coronavirus, the league announced Tuesday.

The MLB released the following statement:

“Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game.  Turner was placed into isolation 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.  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.

The Commissioner’s Office is beginning a full investigation into this matter and will consult with the Players Association within the parameters of the joint 2020 Operations Manual. 

Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ traveling party.  Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities.”

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Turner was removed from Los Angeles’ 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 on Tuesday night after registering MLB’s first positive test in 59 days. He wasn’t on the field initially as the Dodgers enjoyed the spoils of a title earned during a most unusual season.

He returned to the diamond about an hour after the game, hugging longtime teammate Clayton Kershaw and sitting front-and-center for a team photo next to manager Dave Roberts with his mask pulled down under his beard.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and third baseman Justin Turner pose for a group picture after the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 to win the baseball World Series, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

“Thanks to everyone reaching out!” Turner said on Twitter. “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.”

MLB insulated postseason teams in neutral-site bubbles after traveling them across the country during a shortened 60-game season. Turner was the first player since the playoffs began to be flagged for the coronavirus.

MLB received Turner’s Monday sample from the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah in the bottom of the second inning when lab president Dr. Daniel Eichner called deputy commissioner Dan Halem, who was in New York, a person familiar with the call said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details were not released.

Eichner told Halem the result was inconclusive. MLB receives many inconclusive results, so Halem told Eichner to run Tuesday’s pregame sample from Turner. That result came back positive in the sixth inning, the person said.

The 35-year-old Turner has been a staple in the Dodgers’ lineup for seven of their eight consecutive NL West titles. A late-blooming slugger who helped reshape the game by succeeding with an upper-cut swing, Turner is LA’s career leader with 12 postseason home runs, including a pair in this Series, in which he hit .364 and also played stellar defense.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

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