KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly two weeks into "summer camp," the Kansas City Royals are doing their best to prepare for the shortened 2020 season despite numerous obstacles.


Players keep their distance from each other, arriving at Kauffman Stadium in shifts and working in small groups and often wearing masks even on the field. The clubhouse, normally a jovial social hub, is scrubbed, sanitized and virtually silent.


In the first week, four key players tested positive for COVID-19 and were sidelined. Likely opening day starting pitcher Brad Keller, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn and the team’s top two catchers — Salvador Perez and Cam Gallagher — were each banished from Kauffman Stadium until they could produce two negative tests for the virus. The fact that each was asymptomatic and felt great made their absence even more frustrating.


But despite the bumps in the road, general manager Dayton Moore said he is satisfied with the testing process and the effort by the team to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t derail the season.


"We are really pleased with the protocols that (Royals coaches and medical personnel) have in place," Moore said. "They have done a great job for setting the tone and setting an example. Our players are doing an amazing job."


Unlike some other teams around the league, the Royals have not experienced inordinate delays in getting results of COVID-19 tests, Moore said. He said the Royals began testing players as early as was allowed by the league. Players and coaches are tested every other day, and results have been returned within 24 hours. He said the process has created a rhythm that players have quickly grown comfortable with.


"Nothing’s perfect," Moore said. "We’re in unprecedented times. Our (medical staff) and KU Med had a lot of conversations about how to make the process work."


Despite the bumps in the road, Moore said he is confident that the season will start on time and be completed as planned.


"I’ve felt good from the beginning," Moore said. "There is a strong commitment to play baseball. And there is an even stronger commitment to make sure that we are aware of the health and safety of our players and their families, and the fans.


"Major League Baseball has pulled out all the stops to be an example of how we need to get back to work in our communities and around the country. We’ve been asked to discipline ourselves in ways that we never thought we would have to do. We have a spirit of cooperation amongst our organization at every level to do whatever we can for one another. We just can’t let our guard down. It’s one day at a time."


Recognizing that every major league team is having to deal with players lost to positive tests, as well as abnormal training routines, manager Mike Matheny said the key will be dealing effectively with adversity.


"We’ve got to look at what we have," Matheny said. "We have the diversity of bringing more guys in with the 30-man roster. How do we maximize that? That brings in opportunities to be a little more creative. What do we have, and how do we make the most of what we’ve got?"


Matheny’s Royals have engaged in simulated games for a week, cycling pitchers through to increase their capacity and giving hitters live at bats. The format has not just helped veterans work into game shape. It’s allowed several prospects to get their feet wet on a big league field, against big league-caliber opponents.


Finding a fifth starter and developing the bullpen was the top priority at the start of camp. But the focus quickly shifted to an emergency situation behind the plate. Perez and Gallagher tested positive for COVID-19, and top option Meibrys Viloria was sidelined for an undisclosed reason. The Royals have employed several prospects and brought in some unemployed veterans to try to fill the void.


"We’re fortunate in a sense that if something like this was going to occur, it’s happened early in the process," Moore said. "Obviously that’s a position that you can cover very well. We need depth there. We’ll continue to prepare to cover there each day in case we lose someone. It’s not ideal. But it’s part of what we’re dealing with right now."


Those who tested positive in camp are not the only ones affected by COVID-19. Matheny suffered a bout with the virus earlier this summer. Hunter Dozier said both his parents tested positive. Tim Hill said his cancer history posed an added threat.


Players are embracing a selflessness they might not have always felt, pitcher Josh Staumont said.


"Selfless in that you have guys who are supporting this economy in a ton of different ways," Staumont said. "We’re extremely fortunate in this sport — not that we haven’t worked for it to be (in the major leagues) — but there are people who are continuing to work, putting themselves in hazardous positions during this pandemic, that we can’t sit here and complain about what we have or don’t have. You have to see that 99.9% of people working during this time, getting laid off, furloughed…the unemployment rate is incredible. That’s the selfless nature we need to really focus on."


The Royals announced Monday they will play three exhibition games as final preparation for the season opener at Cleveland July 24. The Royals will host the Houston Astros at 7:05 p.m. July 20 and again at 1:05 p.m. July 21 The club will then travel across the state to play the St. Louis Cardinals at 3:05 p.m. July 22. All three games will be shown on Fox Sports Kansas City.