Tampa Bay Rays Austin Meadows after a game against the Orioles.
Jul 14, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Austin Meadows (17) high fives teammates after beating the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It’s highly unlikely that the Tampa Bay Rays will have their full regular lineup on the field when they open up the 2020 MLB season next Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In what will likely be a common theme around the baseball world this season, a star player on the Rays has tested positive for COVID-19.

Rays star outfielder Austin Meadows placed on injured list

This means it’s highly unlikely Meadows will be with the Rays for their first few series of the truncated 2020 season.

Bad initial news for contending Tampa Bay Rays team

Meadows, 25, is coming off a brilliant first full season in the Majors. He hit .291 with 33 homers, 89 RBI and a .922 OPS en route to earning an All-Star appearance in 2019.

Tampa Bay is expected to contend with the New York Yankees in the American League East this season. It won 96 games a season ago before losing in a best-of-five series against the Houston Astros in the divisional round.

Things are more complicated for the Rays than other teams with the season slated to start here in a week. The state of Florida has been among the epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. This obviously puts their players at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the Rays and other teams located in hot spots such as Texas, California and Arizona.

For now, Tampa will open its season with a five-game home set against the Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves.

Vincent Frank
Editor here at Sportsnaut. Contributor at Forbes. Previous bylines include Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, SB Nation. Heard on ESPN Radio and NBC Sports Radio. Northern California native living it up in Las Vegas. The Keto lifestyle. Traveler. Reader. TV watcher. Dog daddy. Sam Malone = greatest TV character ever. "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary," John Keating.