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MLB: Turner violated protocols when he returned to field

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and third baseman Justin Turner pose for a group picture after the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6 to win the baseball World Series, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Justin Turner violated coronavirus protocols when he celebrated with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and he refused instructions from security to leave the field, behavior that Major League Baseball said risked the safety of others.

The commissioner’s office said Wednesday it is starting a full investigation of the 35-year-old third baseman.

The Dodgers won their first World Series championship since 1988 with a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 6 on Tuesday night at Globe Life Field.

Turner was pulled from the game following the seventh inning after MLB was notified that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He was quarantined in a doctor’s office off to the side, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.

Turner later returned to the field with a mask to celebrate the Dodgers’ title. He then took down his mask and posed for a team photo on the field.

“Immediately upon receiving notice from the laboratory of a positive test, protocols were triggered, leading to the removal of Justin Turner from last night’s game,” MLB said in a statement Wednesday. “Turner was placed into isolation for the safety of those around him. However, following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others.

“While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”

Turner became a free agent when his $64 million, four-year contract expired following the victory.

Turner’s agent, Greg Genske, did not immediately respond to a text from The Associated Press seeking comment.

“Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ traveling party,” MLB said. “Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities.”

Both teams were travelling home from the Dallas area on Wednesday in coordination with their local health authorities, a person familiar with the arrangements said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

No additional players received positive results from rapid PCR tests early Wednesday, the person said, but the wife of one Rays player tested positive, the person said. The wife and the player did not travel with the team and were to travel on their own, the person said.

A private plane was being arranged for Turner’s travel, the person said.

The commissioner’s office said it will consult with the players’ association as part of its investigation. The union was in the process of gathering facts on the events.

Turner was visible on the field without a mask during the celebration. And Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was nearby, also not wearing a mask.

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