COVID-19 Test Results Involving Notable Players
Besides David Price and Felix Hernandez opting-out Saturday, there were several notable players around baseball that tested positive for COVID-19. First off, the Atlanta Braves announced that first baseman Freddie Freeman and three other players tested positive. Mark Bowman, who covers the Braves for MLB.com, was the first with the news.
Brian Snitker said Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Touki Toussaint and Pete Kozma all tested positive for COVID-19. Freeman is still battling a fever. Smith and Toussaint have been asymptomatic. These are the only four Braves who are known to have tested positive.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 4, 2020
Both Freddie Freeman and Will Smith were expected to play pivotal roles for the Braves this season. After all, Freeman is a back-to-back All-Star and is coming off a season in which he hit .295/.389/.549 over 158 games.
Additionally, Smith was going to be a nice late-inning weapon for the Braves. This past offseason, he agreed to a three-year deal with Atlanta. Essentially, the Braves planned on having Shane Greene, Smith, and Mark Melancon as the trio anchoring down the back of their bullpen for the entire season.
Furthermore, Touki Toussaint was going to be another starting pitching depth piece for the Braves. Atlanta has built up quite a trove of starting pitching prospects over the past few years. Finally, Pete Kozma was a non-roster invite who was competing for a bench spot.
Kansas City Royals Player Tests Positive
Once the news was announced regarding those Atlanta Braves players, the Kansas City Royals announced that catcher Salvador Perez tested positive for COVID-19. Jeffrey Flanagan, who covers the Royals for MLB.com, was first with the report.
Salvy Perez has tested positive for Covid-19. He is asymptomatic. He will get tested again.
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) July 4, 2020
The good news for the Royals is that Perez is asymptomatic. As part of the usual protocol regarding COVID-19, Perez will need to have another test completed before determining what the next step will be.
If the Royals hope to make noise in the upcoming 60-game season, then they will need a healthy Salvador Perez on their roster. After missing the entire 2019 season after undergoing ulnar collateral ligament surgery, the 2020 season was viewed as a bounce-back one for the 30-year old catcher.
Two Minnesota Twins Players Test Positive
Beyond the aforementioned players, both Miguel Sano and Willians Astudillo also tested positive for COVID-19, the Minnesota Twins announced Saturday. Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press officially broke the news.
Everybody has cleared the initial intake except Miguel Sano, Willians Astudillo, Nick Gordon and Edwar Colina (all COVID-19 positive) and Cody Stashak and Byron Buxton (both on paternity leave).
— Betsy Helfand (@betsyhelfand) July 4, 2020
Going into this season, the Twins were planning on utilizing Miguel Sano at first base. After coming to terms with third baseman Josh Donaldson this past offseason, Minnesota felt as though it’s best defensive alignment was with Sano at first. However, with the news today, it puts those plans in a bit of a pause.
In addition, break out catcher, and the player coined the nickname “El Tortuga” last season Willians Astudillo was expected to be the team’s third catcher. Given the circumstances of this season, Astudillo likely wouldn’t have seen much time behind the dish. Although, he does have the ability to play at first, second, and third base as well as in left and right field.
News Regarding Aaron Nola and Two Other Phillies
To be clear: Nola, Adam Haseley, and Christian Bethancourt are not on the COVID list. They are being kept away from camp because of COVID protocols. (Either tested positive for the virus, showed symptoms, came in contact with an infected person, or have missing/inconclusive test https://t.co/UAyT3qSkfQ
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) July 5, 2020
As mentioned, all three players haven’t tested positive. Rather, according to the protocol, the Phillies are playing it safe. In the coming days, all three will likely undergo additional testing to determine a path moving forward.
For the Phillies to have any shot at the National League East, they need a healthy Aaron Nola all season long. When you pair Nola with Jake Arrieta and offseason acquisition Zack Wheeler, it gives the Phillies a respectable starting trio. Last year, the Phillies main problem was getting innings from their starting rotation. With a healthy Nola, Philadelphia is easily able to overcome that problem.
Adam Haseley was going to be the team’s starting centerfielder. While centerfield was a primary need for Philadelphia this past offseason, the organization feels Haseley is the right man for the job. Finally, Christian Bethancourt was a depth piece for the Phillies this season. The catcher, outfielder, and pitcher was a non-roster invite with the team.
DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa Test Positive
As DJ Kleinbard wrote on Saturday evening, New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu and right-handed pitcher Luis Cessa also tested positive. Obviously, of those two individuals, LeMahieu will have a bigger impact on the Yankees success this coming season.
In the coming days, more information should be released on the status of both players. The team here at Last Word On MLB will cover that news as it is announced.
Miami Marlins Have Four Players Test Positive
Finally, the Miami Marlins announced that four of their players had tested positive for COVID-19. Buster Olney of ESPN was the first to break the news on Twitter.
Four Miami Marlins players have tested positive for COVID-19, team confirms https://t.co/06XFCdA4Fb
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 5, 2020
The names have not yet been released. All four players must give MLB their consent to have their names released. However, the good news is that all four are almost over the quarantine period. According to Miami Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill, “the trio tested positive within the last two weeks and prior to their arrival in Miami for the start of the Marlins’ training camp.” As for the fourth player, the results from that test were made official mid-week last week.
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