A San Diego Padre was benched by the coronavirus Friday, the first official day of training camp at Petco Park for the returning Major Leaguers.
Outfielder Tommy Pham, who was traded to the Padres in the just-completed (very long) offseason, was tested as part of the intake screening process.
Padres GM AJ Preller confirmed the news Friday in a Zoom news conference.
"Tommy Pham has tested positive for the coronavirus," Preller said. "He began the self-isolation process immediately. He is asymptomatic. I’ve been in contact with him every single day. He feels fine/asymptomatic…. As a staff, we will be following all the contact tracing protocols and all the MLB protocols in terms of what you do when you have a player that has a positive corona test."
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It's not yet known when Pham will return to the field.
"MLB has guidelines in there as well, some different check-box systems as well, that we are in the process of going through, and when Tommy clears those and checks those boxes, we will talk about Tommy returning to play for the Padres,” Preller said.
San Diego traded for Pham and a minor leaguer in December, sending Hunter Renfroe and No. 5 prospect Xavier Edwards to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Pham, despite being four years older and with two fewer years of team control, provides an immediate upgrade over Renfroe. Pham played 123 games in left field for Tampa in 2019 and it's hoped he will be an everyday option there for the Padres. He also made 94 appearances in center field in 2018.
Most important, Pham gives the Friars a much-needed boost at the plate. While Renfroe did belt 33 home runs (27 coming before the All-Star break), he also struck out 154 times. Pham had an on-base percentage of .369 in 2019, compared to Renfroe's mark of .289.
Pham was not the only Major Leaguer missing on Friday due to COVID-19: Cleveland outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and Texas reliever Brett Martin also were out of action, having tested positive for the virus.