Washington Nationals logo during MLB Spring Training
Feb 17, 2020; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; New signage arrives at the Washington Nationals spring training facility to honor their World Series championship last season. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one of the unintended consequences of the ongoing pandemic around the baseball world. Fringe players testing positive for COVID-19 and missing an opportunity to prove their worth heading into Opening Day July 23.

This list now includes a veteran reliever with the Washington Nationals

Defending champions release Fernando Abad after testing positive for COVID-19

Abad, 34, pitched well during the initial Spring Training slate. In fact, the veteran yielded zero earned runs in four appearances. Unfortunately, he tested positive for the virus after reporting to Nationals camp in D.C. This forced Washington to release the pitcher.

Abad could very well latch on with another team. But time is certainly running out on this front. The lefty made his Major League debut with the Houston Astros back in 2010. He’s pitched to a 3.67 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in stops with six different teams throughout his career.

Could this be a sign of things to come?

We’ve seen multiple players test positive for COVID-19 upon reporting to camp over the past few weeks. While the positive test rate is low compared to the general public, it still has to be seen as concerning.

With Opening Day slated to start in less than a week, Abad could very well be the first of many to lose out on an opportunity to earn a big league roster spot simply because he fell victim to the virus. That’s the sad reality of the situation today.

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.