By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) — All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon, the first major league player known to have tested positive for the coronavirus, returned to the Colorado Rockies for his first workout Monday after getting the all clear to rejoin his teammates.
“I feel great. I have felt that way for at least a couple of weeks now,” Blackmon said on a video conference call with reporters before taking batting and fielding practice at Coors Field.
“It’s nice to be back,” he added. “I was getting kind of bored sitting there in the basement in quarantine by myself.”
Blackmon said he was only mildly affected by the virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans and claimed more than a half-million lives worldwide.
“I had a day and a half of symptoms and after that I started feeling much better,” Blackmon said, adding he hopes to be ready for the Rockies’ July 24 opener at Texas.
He said his illness wasn’t even as bad as the flu.
“I was blindsided” by the positive test result, Blackmon explained, adding that he had taken all the usual precautions with his family: sheltering at home, social distancing and wearing a mask when out in public.
He said he has no idea how he contracted the virus but was lucky not to get as sick as so many others.
“My symptoms were what I would consider mild flu symptoms,” Blackmon said. “I had a headache, I had a bit of a cough and then I had some body aches. I just felt sick. But it only lasted for about 36 hours and I would consider it mild compared to the flu. I had the flu proper a couple of years ago and I thought that thing was going to wipe me out.
“And I’m lucky that my COVID experience was not nearly as severe” as many others who have been infected, Blackmon said. “And I know that it does affect everybody a little differently. But I would consider the symptoms that I felt to be minor.”
Blackmon said he’s just trying now to regain his physical fitness and added that he doesn’t foresee any long-term effects from the illness.
“This is a minor, minor glitch, a minor speed bump,” he said. “It is not something that’s going to throw me off. It’s not something that I was scared of or that I’ll be scared of for any of these guys in this locker room.
“I do think we’ll be as safe as we can and try not to get it, but honestly, we went through a whole lot of trouble and did a lot of changing of our life and our country for something that wasn’t that bad — in my experience,” Blackmon said. “That doesn’t mean that it won’t be more serious for other people and that it hasn’t been more serious for other people.”
Manager Bud Black said he hopes to have Blackmon available when the season is set to begin in two weeks. If he isn’t ready to play outfield, he might serve as Colorado’s designated hitter to start out.
“It’s going to be close, but I’m optimistic, knowing Charlie,” Black said. ”We’re going to watch him every single day to see how he’s doing.”
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