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Rays not unduly concerned about Braves’ recent brush with Marlins

Atlanta begins a two-game series in Tropicana Field tonight, less than a week after playing exhibition games against the Marlins, who have had a COVID-19 outbreak.
Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz is one of several players who was wearing a mask during games in the weekend series against Toronto. The Rays are now playing two games against the Braves, less than a week after Atlanta hosted the Miami Marlins. The Marlins have had had 11 players and two coaches test positive for coronavirus in recent days.
Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz is one of several players who was wearing a mask during games in the weekend series against Toronto. The Rays are now playing two games against the Braves, less than a week after Atlanta hosted the Miami Marlins. The Marlins have had had 11 players and two coaches test positive for coronavirus in recent days. [ JONAH HINEBAUGH | Times ]
Published Jul. 27, 2020|Updated Jul. 31, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — It doesn’t take an epidemiologist to trace the potential path of MLB’s recent coronavirus outbreak.

The Miami Marlins had 11 players and two coaches test positive in Philadelphia during the weekend, which came just a few days after playing exhibition games against the Braves in Atlanta. And now the Braves are in town for a two-game series against the Rays.

The Braves have not given any indication that any players have tested positive in the past week, and Rays players said Monday afternoon that their level of concern is not any greater than it’s been in the past few months.

Related: Two MLB games postponed as Marlins deal with coronavirus outbreak

“They would know if they had any positives from the last test they took,” centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier said. “Yes, there’s concern each and every day no matter what. There’s no doubt about that. At the same time, you try not to let these things distract you from what we’re trying to accomplish as a team.

“Health is obviously a lot more important than what we’re doing out there on the field, but we have the confidence and trust that everyone on the opposition is safe as of now, and I hope I’m right when I say that.”

Braves catchers Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers are not with the team after falling ill late last week, but manager Brian Snitker said both have had multiple negative tests.

“More than anything, they felt like they had bad colds and they’re having a hard time shaking it,” Snitker said. “Probably, if this had happened a year ago, we would have brought them with us, treated them and they’d probably have been playing. But under these times, you can’t take any chances. But they are getting better.”

Related: David Price: ‘Players’ health wasn’t being put first’

The Rays had a previously scheduled team meeting Monday afternoon to go over protocols for the upcoming road trip to Atlanta and Baltimore. Manager Kevin Cash said none of the players expressed any reservations about playing outside of Tampa Bay.

And while the Marlins news was disturbing, Cash said it’s not shocking considering what the nation has seen in the past few months.

“It is unnerving,” Cash said. “Today has been a challenging day. Your mind kind of wanders to make sure that we’re doing everything we can. And we’re confident we are. You just want to do right by everybody involved.”

John Romano can be reached at jromano@tampabay.com. Follow @romano_tbtimes.