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(3rd LD) Minor league baseball players, staff test negative for COVID-19 following pitcher's infection

Sports 14:03 September 01, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with test results at bottom; ADDS details in paras 6-7, photos)

SEOSAN, South Korea, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean minor league baseball players and their team staff members have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, following an earlier positive test for a pitcher on their club.

Health officials in Seosan, home of the Futures League affiliate for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club Hanwha Eagles in South Chungcheong Province, announced Tuesday that 40 players, coaches and members of the support staff all tested negative for COVID-19.

In this file photo from Aug. 24, 2020, Hanwha Eagles players celebrate their 6-3 win over the LG Twins in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

They had tests after minor league pitcher Shin Jung-rak tested positive for the virus Monday. He's the first South Korean professional athlete to be infected.

There were 37 other team members who didn't report to work at the Seosan minor league facility on Tuesday, and they will undergo tests near their homes.

Shin hasn't appeared in a KBO game since June 27, and his last Futures League game was July 22. He has been rehabbing from an elbow injury since and has been working out with others in the "rehab unit," away from the rest of the Futures League team.

This photo, taken on Sept. 1, 2020, shows the Futures League training facility for the Korea Baseball Organization club Hanwha Eagles in Seosan, 150 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

The Eagles said Shin, who first had fever and headaches last Saturday, is doing relatively well while in isolation.

A team official said local health authorities are still trying to determine the route of his transmission and that the Eagles will fully cooperate with health officials.

As a precaution, the KBO decided to postpone the Eagles' Futures League game set for Tuesday. In addition, the LG Twins' affiliate also had its Tuesday game postponed, because Shin, a former Twins draft pick, recently came in contact with two members of that team.

The parking lot outside the Futures League training facility for the Korea Baseball Organization club Hanwha Eagles in Seosan, 150 kilometers south of Seoul, was closed on Sept. 1, 2020, after the team's pitcher, Shin Jung-rak, tested positive for COVID-19. (Yonhap)

According to the Twins, Shin came over to say hello to two LG minor leaguers before a game last Tuesday and again Wednesday. Those two LG players and their two roommates were tested earlier Tuesday and are currently in quarantine, the Twins said. All other members of the Twins' minor league club will also undergo tests later Tuesday.

Two Hanwha minor leaguers who were recently called up to the KBO tested negative Tuesday, as did their two minor league roommates. The status of the Eagles' KBO game against the Doosan Bears, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, will be determined later in the day.

In this file photo from Aug. 9, 2020, Hanwha Eagles players take a bow toward the stands after losing to the KT Wiz 6-3 in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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