MLB Rumors: Dodgers Seeking Exemption From L.A. County

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With Opening Day officially less than a week away, the Los Angeles Dodgers have entered the final days of Summer Camp. The club is wrapping up workouts and intrasquad games at Dodger Stadium before beginning their exhibition schedule.

That starts Sunday and includes two matchups against the Arizona Diamondbacks and one against the L.A. Angels.

Health-wise, the Dodgers find themselves in an enviable position. The only player from their pool that hasn’t reported to Dodger Stadium is Keibert Ruiz, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday.

However, it took some time for other key contributors to return to the field. Chief among them was Kenley Jansen, who revealed his one-plus week delay stemmed from previously testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

While every team figures to deal with a similar occurrence this season, the Dodgers could be at a disadvantage. L.A. County law requires all people who come in close contact with a COVID-19 patient to quarantine for two weeks, regardless of whether or not they test positive themselves.

The Dodgers, with the help of Major League Baseball, are reportedly seeking an exemption from the law, but haven’t been granted one at this time, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

MLB and the Dodgers have engaged in discussions with the L.A. County Department of Public Health about the team receiving an exemption, but the team hasn’t received one, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

“We have been working closely with all the major league sport teams in LA County to ensure as much safety as possible for employees, players, and community residents when there are positive cases and identified close contacts among team members,” the statement read. “We are reviewing specific plans to ensure that risks for transmission are minimized.”

If the L.A. County ruling remains intact, it could have negative ramifications for the Dodgers in the regular season. Should a player test positive for COVID-19, others deemed to have been in close contact may be forced to miss a sizable chunk of the 60-game schedule, even if they don’t contract the virus.

Dave Roberts concerned about L.A. County guidelines

As the Dodgers await a resolution, manager Dave Roberts is concerned the L.A. County guidelines could put them at a competitive disadvantage. “A little bit,” he said of the law potentially having an adverse effect on the team.

“We’re trying not to make too big of a deal of it. It’s kind of county-to-county, state-to-state, as far as what the expectations are with the contact tracing and what you need to do to protect the person you were in contact with and others around.

“The County of Los Angeles, we are more on the conservative side, which I think is a good thing. But obviously if you talk about a competitive advantage, where our guys might be out longer than another team’s players, certainly. But the most important thing is the health of the players. We’ll make due regardless.”

Roberts nonetheless also stated the Dodgers are not exploring plans to play home games away from Chavez Ravine. The Washington Nationals are said to be evaluating their options because of similar challenges with local policies.

As for the handful of players that didn’t initially report to camp, Roberts hinted the L.A. County law may have played a role. “Potentially,” he said.

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