KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Texas Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla tested positive for swine flu, though his symptoms are subsiding and he’s expected to make his next start.
Padilla was scratched from his start Wednesday against Boston due to flulike symptoms, and lab reports Friday indicated he had H1N1 Type A influenza. He is thought to be the first athlete in U.S. major pro sports to be diagnosed with swine flu.
“He was as surprised as anyone when we told him this was the case,” Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. “From everything we’ve been told, this is certainly a different strain of the normal flu and by nature might be deemed more serious, but you really wouldn’t treat it any differently.”
Several Rangers players have been hit with the flu this week, including Eddie Guardado, Omar Vizquel and David Murphy. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was scratched from Friday night’s game against Kansas City due to the flu.
The team held a meeting Wednesday advising everyone to take necessary hygiene precautions, and the Rangers’ flight to Kansas City was delayed until Friday morning in order to provide additional recovery time. Cultures have been sent away to determine if any other players have swine flu.
“Without speculating, I think it is reasonable to expect that we may find some of our other guys have it,” Levine said. “We’ve been medicating our players. We would use the same medication and the same kind program to rehabilitate them and they’ve all shown improvement. Those are the positive signs.”
Padilla is already getting better. He ran in the outfield and threw a side session Friday in Kansas City and is expected to start Tuesday against Detroit, though the Rangers separated him from the team to avoid exposing others to the flu.
“As an extra precaution, we have encouraged him to go back to the hotel tonight and not sit in the dugout or the clubhouse. He’s done that,” Levine said. “I think we’ll continue to take that level of precaution, and in addition (with) everyone else.”
The news about Padilla’s illness came on the same day that the San Diego Padres’ Triple-A team postponed a trip to Utah because of a flu outbreak that has affected seven players.
The Pacific Coast League said the Portland Beavers asked to postpone Friday’s game at Salt Lake because of the Influenza-A virus that has sickened several members of the club.
The PCL said none of the players has required hospitalization and the Beavers hoped to be able to travel in time for Saturday night’s scheduled game at Utah.
Beavers vice president of baseball operations/communications Chris Metz said none of the players have been tested for the H1N1 flu virus and that the team delayed the trip as a precaution.
The Beavers played in Reno on Thursday and were scheduled to open a four-game series Friday at Salt Lake.
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