"I don't put this in the nightmare category."
That's Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred telling baseball fans NOT to panic over the Miami Marlins COVID outbreak ... essentially saying the league is prepared for this.
"It's not a positive thing, but I don't see it as a nightmare," Manfred told MLB Network ... "That's why we have the expanded rosters. That's why we have the pool of additional players."
As we previously reported ... 11 Marlins players and 2 coaches have tested positive over the past few days -- forcing the league to cancel multiple games.
Some people are calling this a doomsday scenario -- fearing such an outbreak so early in the season proves the league simply can't move forward safely.
But, Manfred disagrees ... insisting MLB will continue -- and he's confident the players are safe.
"We built protocols anticipating that we would have positive tests at some point during the season," Manfred said
"The protocols were built to allow us to play through those positives. We believe the protocols are adequate to keep our players safe."
So, at what point would the league actually shut down the 2020 season?
Manfred says it would take "a team losing a number of players, making it completely non-competitive, would be something we would have to address and have to think about making a change."
"Our first concern is the health of the players and their families. And making sure we do everything possible to minimize the spread of the virus to our employees."
He added, "I remain optimistic the protocols are strong enough that it will allow us to continue to play even through an outbreak like this and complete our season."