SAN FRANCISCO – Giants outfielder Alex Dickerson received news of a positive test result for the novel coronavirus on Friday night moments before he was set to play at San Diego — and he knew in his gut it couldn't possibly be right.
Dickerson got pulled off the field and immediately was placed in isolation at Petco Park, and two games between San Francisco and San Diego were postponed.
But Dickerson was certain there was no way he could have COVID-19. He had tested negative a day earlier in order to fly with the team and had gotten his pregnant wife's negative result, as well. He hadn't broken any protocols.
“It came as a complete shock and at no point did I ever think it was real,” Dickerson said, “At no point did I actually believe it.”
Still, Friday night's series opener at San Diego was called off along with the scheduled game Saturday.
A former Padres player who is from the San Diego area, Dickerson had a half-dozen more tests and got back to the field Sunday for a doubleheader despite the emotional and physical exhaustion of what he went through — he was starting in left field and batting second in the opener.
All of the Giants traveling party tested negative, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said. He, manager Gabe Kapler and Dickerson praised the Padres for their assistance in dealing with the situation. The Giants travel with a rapid test kit and San Diego also loaned a kit to its NL West rival.
“There's been a lot of focus on how we've been divided at times between teams for various reasons. I think this is a really good example of how two major league teams who are competing against one another came together and worked on an issue together," Kapler said. "We had a lot of support from Major League Baseball. A lot of gratitude to the Padres for how much support they gave us in respect to Alex and the testing process.”
Adding to the anxiety of his ordeal was Dickerson figuring out how to carefully get wife Jennifer, who is 39 weeks pregnant with their first child, to a hospital on Friday night to be tested again. The couple expect a baby boy this coming week.
“It was something you can't really prepare for and you deal with it. It was very stressful. I didn't sleep much. That's the year we're having,” said Dickerson, a self-described private person who fought tears during a pregame Zoom call. “A lot of people have it very tough right now. It's where you find out how to get through things.”
His follow-ups included two visits to the University of California San Diego for additional testing.
The 30-year-old Dickerson began the day batting .268 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs. He insists he never had contact with family members or friends and only saw his wife upon arriving in San Diego.
Dickerson said he and his wife received hurtful and unnecessary scrutiny based on reporting that he had socialized with them. Dickerson's name was mentioned on social media Friday though most teams don't identify positive tests unless the player consents to allowing it to be released publicly.
“I do want to bring to light the fact that false reporting did happen in my situation and it had extremely negative effects on me and my family," Dickerson said.
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