The Houston Astros have placed second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, catcher Martin Maldonado and reserve infielder Robel Garcia on the injured list "as a result of health and safety protocols," general manager James Click said Wednesday.
Click said he couldn't say whether a player had tested positive for COVID-19 or had been exposed to someone who had. He said the length of each player's absence would be determined by contact testing that is being performed.
He also said the moves were not a function of the players breaking COVID-19 protocols.
"Absolutely not. The guys have been exceptionally vigilant of making sure that at the ballpark, away from the ballpark, they're following the rules," Click told reporters. "I think this is just another reflection of the situation we're in, not just in baseball but in the country."
The Astros, who are not at the 85% vaccination threshold to loosen team protocols, said they didn't know about having to make these moves until after Tuesday's game. All other players on the team will go through increased testing, and all coaches and staff have been cleared to continue working.
In corresponding moves, the Astros called up infielder Taylor Jones, catcher Garrett Stubbs, infielder Abraham Toro, infielder Alex De Goti and outfielder Ronnie Dawson from the team's alternate training site.
All five players are expected to arrive in time for Wednesday night's game against the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park.
Click said MLB didn't believe there was a health reason not to play Wednesday's game, "so as of now, we are playing the game."
The Astros have lost four in a row after a 6-1 start and now must play without four members of their starting lineup.
"When it rains, it pours," Click said. "It's a difficult situation, but we can't let that take our focus away from winning this game."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.