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Jeter defends Marlins players following COVID-19 outbreak: ‘There is no way to identity how this got into our clubhouse’

FILE - In this Friday, July 24, 2020, file photo, Miami Marlins' Jesus Aguilar, right, celebrates a 5-2 win with teammates following a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia. The Marlins coronavirus outbreak could endanger the Major League Baseball season, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, as the number of their players testing positive rose to 15. The Marlins received positive test results for four additional players Tuesday, July 23, 2020, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, File) (Chris Szagola, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter defended the team's actions prior to an outbreak of COVID-19 that nearly derailed the team's season just days after it began. 

Jeter’s comments come after revelations into the findings of an investigation by Major League Baseball, which indicated that the Marlins did not follow proper safety and social distancing protocols while traveling in Atlanta. This is according to reports from Bleacher Report and The Athletic.

Jeter said that the team got too comfortable while traveling after everyone had tested negative after spring training.  

"Some of our traveling party had a false sense of security and comfort when they left Miami," he said of the team's trip to Atlanta in late July. "Guys were around each other, they were relaxed and they let their guard down." 

Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter speaks to the media on a Zoom call regarding the team's outbreak of COVID-19. (WPLG)

While Jeter claimed that there was "no way to identity how this got into our clubhouse" he maintained that it was not due to any of the team's activities that Tuesday night in Atlanta. 

"Our guys were not running around town in Atlanta," he said. "We did have a couple guys that left the hotel. There were no guests on site, no salacious activity, no hanging out at bars or clubs."

Jeter said players left the hotel to get things like coffee and clothes. 

A total of 20 Marlins players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19 since the season began on July 24 in Philadelphia. 

When Jeter began speaking on Monday's Zoom call, the first thing he did was ask for some concern and compassion for his players and coaches that were battling the coronavirus. 

"One of the first and most important things we can do is have a little empathy for our players," he said. " Hopefully this has been a wake-up call for everyone, not only our team but all of baseball."

Miami, which has not played in a game since Sunday, July 26, is scheduled to resume its season on Tuesday in Baltimore with four games in three days against the Orioles.

“We expect to be competitive when we hit the field,” Jeter said. “To have 18 players taken out at once is a challenge for us, but our guys are looking forward to the challenge.”

About the Author:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.