Outfielder Hunter Dozier is the latest Royals player to test positive for the coronavirus, just days before the team is set to begin the regular season on Friday against the Indians. Ryan O’Hearn, Cam Gallagher, Nick Dini, and Daniel Tillo are all currently out after having tested positive, while pitchers Jakob Junis and Brad Keller previously tested positive and have been cleared to rejoin the team, but won’t be ready to begin the season. Catcher Salvador Pérez also tested positive earlier this month but has rejoined the club.
Hunter Dozier in a statement: “I’m disappointed to say the least. I have been hit with a couple of symptoms that go with the virus, so I need to follow our medical team’s direction, get well and then work on getting back on the field. It’s disheartening...."— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) July 22, 2020
Dozier is coming off a breakout season where he hit .279/.348/.522 with 26 home runs in 139 games, worth 3.2 WAR, according to Baseball Reference. His absence could open up playing time for Bubba Starling, who impressed during spring training and summer camp, Brett Phillips, who is also out of options, or newly acquired outfielder Franchy Cordero.
Dozier will need to quarantine at home and will need two negative tests, have no fever for 72 hours, and be cleared by a doctor before he can rejoin the team.