COVID-19 rocks Royals again, Dozier tests positive

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The Kansas City Royals announced on Wednesday morning that infielder/outfielder Hunter Dozier has tested positive for COVID-19, putting him immediately on the team’s Injured List, and taking him out for this weekend’s opening series in Cleveland against the Indians.

How long Dozier is sidelined will be a mystery, although Royals officials and MLB have indicated that a player can not return to team activities until having two negative tests for the virus within a 24 hour period.  Starting pitchers Jakob Junis and Brad Keller have returned from their own bouts with the virus, but remain on the Injured List, needing to build up stamina before returning to the field.

The timing for Dozier’s diagnosis, two days before the 2020 season opener, could not be worse, as the 28-year old is coming off a breakthrough 2019 season that saw 26 homers and 84 RBI’s, tying for the AL lead with 10 triples.  He was Kansas City’s first round pick (8th overall) in the 2013 MLB Draft.

Dozier, in a statement prepared after receiving the news, said “I’m disappointed to say the least.  I have been hit with a couple of symptoms that go with the virus, so I need to follow our medical team’s direction, get well and then work on getting back on the field. It’s disheartening because I felt things were going well on the field and I have a good feeling about the ball club we have. To have to watch for whatever period of time that I’m out is going to painful.”

The Royals final exhibition game, on KTTN AM 1600, will be played Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis against the Cardinals at 3:05.  The season opener at Cleveland on Friday night, to be heard on KTTN AM 1600 and KTTN FM 92.3, will start at 6:05, with pregame at 5:30.

Photo credit – Ed Zurga / Getty Images / Kansas City, MO