The Dodgers canceled batting practice and most of their pregame on-field activity at Dodger Stadium on Saturday amid concerns of poor air quality with the recent fires in and around Los Angeles. As for whether the game will be postponed, that remains to be seen.
“I don’t know. I mean it doesn’t look great out there,” manager Dave Roberts said on a conference call Saturday. “But until we hear otherwise, we’re going to move forward as planned.”
The Air Quality Index in the immediate vicinity of Dodger Stadium has varied between 160 to 203 at times on Saturday. Any AQI rating between 151-200 is considered unhealthy, and over 200 is considered very unhealthy.
Major League Baseball has no official policy on a specific AQI number that would postpone a game. Jared Diamond and Andrew Beaton at the Wall Street Journal reported that the A’s this week played during a game that saw the AQI at the Oakland Coliseum reach 195.
“The experts on when you’re outdoors and doing physical activity should give us some insight, and that’s what I’d like to think the players and Major League Baseball is leaning on,” Roberts said.
Air quality isn’t the only thing that could potentially threaten the Dodgers schedule. MLB postponed Friday and Saturday games between the Giants and Padres in San Diego after a Giants player tested positive for COVID-19. Those are the first two games in the NL West for COVID-related purposes this season.
The Dodgers are scheduled to begin a series at Petco Park on Monday.
“You’re looking at the clubhouse staff in San Diego, and the clubhouse itself,” Roberts said. “I know Major League Baseball is on top of it, just to make sure we don’t put ourselves in harm’s way going down south. But it’s just another reminder that it could happen at any point and time.”
- Roberts said that Joe Kelly will pitch a simulated inning before Saturday’s game, just about the only on-field activity before the game. The right-hander is eligible to return from his five-game suspension on Wednesday.
- Justin Turner, sidelined since August 29 with a left hamstring strain, was going to face live pitching on Saturday but that was scrapped due to the poor air quality. He’ll face pitching on Sunday instead. “As I understand it, every day is getting better,” Roberts said. “Realistically, early next week would probably be the best-case scenario [for his return].”