July 6 (UPI) — Oakland Athletics general manager David Forst is very unhappy with delays in the COVID-19 test result process, which have held up team workouts prior to MLB’s planned 2020 season.
The Athletic obtained a WhatsApp message Forst recently sent to players and Athletics staff members. A team source described the manager as “livid” and “frustrated.”
Athletics players were scheduled to have their first workout Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum. Pitchers and catchers attended the workout, but position players were not allowed to attend because their results had yet to be processed and analyzed.
Forst said the delay was caused by the observance of the Fourth of July.
“MLB has informed me this evening that our test samples from Friday have not arrived at the lab,” Forst wrote in the WhatsApp message. “They were not delivered as intended on Saturday because of the federal holiday and then were not switched to Sunday delivery in time to arrive [Sunday].
“As of this moment, they are sitting at [San Francisco International Airport] waiting to fly to Salt Lake [City] to be delivered to the lab by 1:30 Mountain Time [Monday].
“On top of screwing up the logistics of this whole thing, neither MLB nor [the company that collects the samples] communicated any of this to us until we pressed them for information, at which point all they could do was apologize, which frankly doesn’t really do much for us.”
Forst blamed MLB and Comprehensive Drug Testing Inc. for the delays.
“Despite having our schedule a week ahead of time, they didn’t alert us to the possibility of any complications around the [Fourth of July], and once there were issues, they did nothing to communicate that to us or remedy the situation until Nick [Paparesta, the Athletics’ athletic trainer] and I forced the issue at various times [Sunday],” he wrote.
“If possible, I’m as frustrated and pissed as [players] are and I assure you the rest of the staff is, as well.”
Athletics manager Bob Melvin told reporters Sunday that he feels like his team’s position players are now “five days behind” other teams’ position players in preparing for the 2020 season.
The 2020 campaign had been scheduled to start March 26, but was pushed into late July due to the pandemic.
The scheduled for a shortened 60-game season will be revealed at 6 p.m. EDT Monday on MLB Network. The 2020 schedule will begin July 23.
Baseball kicks off with training camps