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Dodgers organization has 5 positive coronavirus tests days after World Series win

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health initially reported that five members of the Dodgers organization tested positive, but by Saturday the number had grown to nine.
Image:  Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers pose for a photo after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series at Globe Life Field on Oct. 27, 2020 in Arlington, Texas.Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images file

Five members of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and one family member have tested positive for the coronavirus, county health officials said.

The announcement comes barely more than a week after the team won the World Series.

The identity of those who have tested positive was not released.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball did not immediately return requests for comment on Saturday.

It is unclear if the nine included third baseman Justin Turner, who was removed during the team’s World Series-clinching win on Oct. 27 after he tested positive for the virus.

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A USA Today story on the five cases cited a person with knowledge of the situation saying most of the people who tested positive were outside the so-called bubble at the World Series in Arlington, Texas.

Turner had been removed following the seventh inning of Game 6 and placed in isolation to prevent spread, according to the MLB.

But after the win, he was seen celebrating with his team on the diamond at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

Image: Justin Turner
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Robert and third baseman Justin Turner pose for a group picture after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, on Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.Eric Gay / AP
Image: MLB: World Series-Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner poses for a picture with his wife Kourtney Pogue after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series on Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas.Kevin Jairaj / Reuters

His on-field appearance sparked controversy, and the MLB initially chastised the player, saying in a statement last week that his decision to leave isolation put people at risk.

However, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. said in a statement Friday that an investigation "revealed additional relevant information" that puts into context why Turner returned to the field.

"First, Mr. Turner’s teammates actively encouraged him to leave the isolation room and return to the field for a photograph. Many teammates felt they had already been exposed to Mr. Turner and were prepared to tolerate the additional risk," Manfred said.

"Second, Mr. Turner believes that he received permission from at least one Dodger’s employee to return to the field to participate in a photograph," the commissioner said, noting that it could have been a miscommunication error, but that two Dodgers employees saw Turner returning to the field and did not stop him.

"Third, during the somewhat chaotic situation on the field, Mr. Turner was incorrectly told by an unidentified person that other players had tested positive creating the impression in Mr. Turner’s mind that he was being singled out for isolation."

Manfred said that the league could have handled the situation better and that the results of the investigation do not exonerate Turner "from responsibility for his conduct."

"I am closing this matter by applauding Justin for accepting responsibility, apologizing and making a commitment to set a positive example going forward," he added.

Turner apologized and said he never intended to "make anyone uncomfortable or put anyone at further risk."

"I will not make excuses for my conduct, but I will describe my state of mind. Winning the World Series was my lifelong dream and the culmination of everything I worked for in my career," he said.

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Under the impression that team officials were OK with his leaving isolation, Turner said he returned to the field to take what he believed was going to be a photo with his wife, but that it "turned into several greetings and photos where I briefly and unwisely removed my mask."

Stan Kasten, president and CEO of the Dodgers, thanked Turner for his work in helping the team get through the unprecedented season created by the pandemic.

"While the events following the conclusion of the World Series were unfortunate, there is no question about who Justin Turner is, and what he means to his teammates, the Dodger organization and the City of Los Angeles," he said in a statement.

CORRECTION (Nov. 9 2020, 5:TK p.m. ET): An earlier version of this story misstated the number of positive coronavirus tests in the Dodgers organization. The number is 5, not 9.