Chris Bassitt recently took a COVID-19 test on his own because he was feeling sluggish.
But after testing positive, deciding to tell the Mets about it and then having to miss games while on the COVID injured list, he’s not sure he’ll make the same decision in the future.
“It’s ridiculous we’re still doing it,” Bassitt said Thursday at Citi Field, a day before he will return to start against the Marlins.
Bassitt said he never felt sick during his time on the IL, but the positive test forced him to be scratched from his scheduled start last Friday and away from the team until Thursday.
The right-hander said he initially took a test to protect his daughter at home, in case he had the virus, which he did. But he expressed frustration in the forced layoff that followed, and some regret over how things played out.
“I don’t know if I made the right decision of saying something or not,” Bassitt said before the Mets’ 10-0 blowout win over the Marlins. “I don’t know.”
“Stop testing,” Bassitt said. “Stop acting like COVID is far worse than a lot of other things. I’m not trying to get too much into it, but I was never sick, never had a symptom. So sitting out for … a week, for zero symptoms, I don’t know.
“I guess the answer is I should have never said anything. I should never have said I tested positive. And I probably won’t the rest of my career. There’s no way. There’s no reason.”
This season, Major League Baseball stopped testing players regularly, except for when they show or report symptoms or are deemed a close contact. Players are subject to a daily symptom screening and those who are experiencing symptoms must immediately report them to their team’s medical staff, which sets off a protocol that includes testing.
Bassitt, who tested himself, said his only symptom was feeling more tired than usual during the Mets’ game in Houston on June 22. It was not clear when he took the test, but Bassitt made his next start as scheduled on June 25 against the Marlins before his next turn through the rotation was wiped out because of the positive result.
“I basically had the choice to tell [the team] so I can protect my teammates or not say anything and put my teammates at risk a little bit,” Bassitt said. “But I never had a symptom. Woke up perfectly fine, next day fine. Have not had a symptom since.”
Because he was not symptomatic, Bassitt was able to remain active during his stay on the COVID IL. He continued to throw — including multiple bullpen sessions, he said — work out and run before rejoining the team on Thursday after they arrived home from a series in Cincinnati.
“Basically threw at the park a lot, ran a lot, that was basically it,” said Bassitt, who joked that he threw to a fence and squirrels. “I never felt worn down, so yeah, I feel normal.”
Bassitt hoped to be on a regular workload Friday, which will be his first start in 13 days. It will also be his third straight start against the Marlins.
After hitting a rough patch in late May to early June, during which he posted a 7.96 ERA across five starts, Bassitt had gotten back into a groove lately, recording a 2.53 ERA over his past three starts.
David Peterson filled in for Bassitt after he was scratched last Friday, pitching on five days’ rest and turning in a quality start. Trevor Williams was then forced to start the following day, after pitching 2 ¹/₃ innings out of the bullpen four days earlier.
But the return of Bassitt will further solidify the Mets’ rotation, which recently got a boost from a healthy Max Scherzer and could also have Jacob deGrom back before the end of the month.