Astros Manager Dusty Baker, 71, Nervous About COVID-19 Outbreak In Houston

Brandon Scott
June 24, 2020 - 1:00 pm

(SportsRadio 610) -- Dusty Baker returns to Houston from his home in California this week and says he's nervous about the uptick in coronavirus cases here. 

The city reported 987 new cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 16,253. To date, there have been 204 COVID-19 related deaths in Houston.

Texas had seen a 146-percent increase in lab-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations since Memorial Day, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday

“I’m a bit nervous, but I should be nervous," Baker, who turned 71 earlier this month, told reporters during a video conference Wednesday. "Because this is like spring training number two, but I’ve seen the reports in Houston of how (COVID-19) has gone up. I’m going to have to really be careful."

The Astros reported last week one unnamed player who had been working out at the West Palm Beach, Florida facility tested positive for COVID-19. There are no other known positive tests, and Baker expressed confidence in the training staff helping the team adhere to the new safety protocols. 

There are about 100 pages of guidelines the team will have to study.

"I’m sure the guys are responsible enough to not want to take it to their families," Baker said. "So far, so good. I’ve got to knock on wood on that. We haven’t been together as a group. This is new for us all. This is a tight-knit group that we have here. But we’re going to have to do what we have to do to stay healthy. I’m sure that somebody along the line might get sick and hopefully it’s nobody on our team. We’re going to do everything we can to keep it clean, keep it healthy and follow the protocols, once we all get together and know the protocols."

Baker said he is most concerned about pitchers Jose Urquidy and Roberto Osuna, both of whom have been quarantining in their native country Mexico, where the virus has also spread aggresively.

Astros general manager James Click said Major League Baseball is doing its part to help teams get international players back to their respective cities as quickly and as safely as possible.

When asked how the team could address Baker's concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak in Houston and ensuring the coaches' safety, Click said he's confident in the procedures they have, but acknowledged preventing the spread is challenging.

Major League Baseball shut down all spring training facilities last week for a deep cleaning after outbreaks around the league. 

"That's a conversation we're going to have with the coaches, team doctors, medical staff and the trainers," Click said. "We are very confident in the procedures we have at Minute Maid Park right now in terms of keeping people as safe as we possibly can. But one of the things with this virus that we're all dealing with is how difficult it can be to prevent the spread and to deal with it."

The Major League Baseball Players' Association and team owners agreed to a deal on health and safety protocols Tuesday night, ensuring there will be a 60-game MLB regular season

The Astros report to spring training part two July 1. Games are expected to begin either July 23 or July 24 and an official schedule should be coming soon. We do know the Astros will play 40 games against their American League West opponents (Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners) and 20 games against teams in the National League West (Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants). 

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