Major League Baseball said Justin Turner placed everyone with whom he came in contact at risk for COVID-19 upon returning to the field to celebrate the Los Angeles Dodgers’ World Series victory on Tuesday night.
Turner was pulled late in Game 6 due to testing positive for COVID-19. He started the game and went 0-for-3 before Edwin Rios took over for him at third base at the start of the eighth inning at Arlington, Texas.
Turner came back to celebrate after the Dodgers posted a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays to win the franchise’s first championship since 1988. He initially sported a mask, but he took it off at one point while posing for a team picture as he sat next to manager Dave Roberts.
Roberts was diagnosed in 2010 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that develops within the immune system of the body.
“Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game,” MLB said in a statement on Wednesday. “Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him.
“However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others.
“While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.
“The Commissioner’s Office is beginning a full investigation into this matter and will consult with the Players Association within the parameters of the joint 2020 Operations Manual.
“Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ traveling party. Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities.”
Turner tweeted postgame, “Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA #WorldSeriesChamps”
Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA#WorldSeriesChamps
— Justin Turner (@redturn2) October 28, 2020
MLB played the final three rounds of the playoffs in neutral-site “bubbles” in San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston and Arlington, going 59 consecutive days without a positive test, dating back into he regular season, before Tuesday.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said on FOX regarding Turner’s positive test, “It’s a bittersweet night for us.”
Turner, 35, batted .320 (8-for-25) with two homers and two RBIs is the six-game World Series.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)