MIAMI — The Marlins expect a decision from Major League Baseball by the end of the week about whether their two-game series against the Pirates in Puerto Rico will be moved to Marlins Park because of concerns over the Zika virus.
The Marlins are scheduled to play the Pirates May 29-30 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Both teams have met with officials from the Center for Disease Control and Marlins players’ concerns have heightened since that meeting Friday in Milwaukee, according to Tom Koehler, the team’s player representative.
“There were some facts and things that were shocking to both sides that maybe we didn’t know going into the meeting,” Koehler said. “When everybody in the room sees it visually and hears it, it does maybe alter the decision a little bit.”
The players have taken a vote as to whether they want to play in Puerto Rico and although Koehler would not reveal the outcome of that vote, reports are that both teams would prefer to move the series to Miami. The games are Marlins home games.
The first death related to Zika in a U.S. territory was a 70-year-old man from Puerto Rico. Last week, the CDC confirmed 683 Zika infections in Puerto Rico.
The virus is spread by mosquitoes and can cause birth defects. Infections in adults can result in Guillen-Barre syndrome and even death.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly believes Major League Baseball and the union will make the right decision.
“You’re always concerned about your players’ health and safety,” Mattingly said. “I trust the union, and MLB is not going to put anybody in a position that’s dangerous.”
Koehler said there would be “a lot of precautions that would need to be taken” if the games were played in the 18,264-seat outdoor stadium, such as remaining in the hotel when not at the park, wearing long sleeves and covering any exposed skin with spray.
Players were told not to have any spouse, friend or family members who are pregnant make the trip if the games are played.