Hello and welcome to the latest from Summer Camp!
- Teams have reported difficulty in getting lab results and have been forced to delay training in the interest of safety. St. Louis, Houston, Washington, and Oakland all found themselves keeping players off the field this past week due to testing issues. MLB is attempting to find additional COVID testing labs going forward.
- Two teams with controversial names and imagery are in the news as the Cleveland Indians are examining whether to retain their name and Atlanta Braves their “tomahawk chop”-themed stadium chant and souvenirs. Native American groups’ concerns appear to be gaining more traction in this time of protest surrounding Black Lives Matter. More fans are becoming aware of the sensitivity of these names and symbols. Possible names floated for the Cleveland franchise include the throwback moniker Spiders or possibly the Negro League team name Buckeyes.
- The Blue Jays are not committing to having highly-touted pitching prospect Nate Pearson start the year in the rotation. The team could save a year of service time if they hold Pearson off the 40-man roster for a week or two to start the season. But with his performances last season and in spring training, this could lead to a grievance. The other contenders for the fifth spot in the rotation are Shun Yamaguchi and Trent Thornton.
- With Corey Knebel having three extra months to recover from Tommy John surgery, there is now a question in Milwaukee over whether Josh Hader will be the closer to start the season. Hader had been the higher draft pick prior to the shutdown, but with Knebel ready, he deserves a look, especially in Saves+Holds leagues.
- Padres top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore will be in their player pool to begin the season, but there is no word on their intent regarding usage.
- Ranger’s Opening Day starter Lance Lynn threw 83 pitches in an intrasquad game Tuesday, going six scoreless innings.
- Responding to a question about the Cardinal’s closer spot, GM John Mozeliak mentioned Ryan Helsley‘s name. He is in the mix with Giovanny Gallegos with Jordan Hicks starting the season on the IL. Marcell Ozuna‘s departure also presents an opportunity in left field. Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas, and Dylan Carlson are in contention for the spot.
- Shohei Ohtani had some difficulty during a 50-pitch intrasquad game Tuesday. Apparently rusty after nearly two years off the hill, Ohtani walked eight, threw six wild pitches, and hit a batter.
- The Mariners have announced Marco Gonzales as their Opening Day starter. He is slated to lead a rotation that will include Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield, and some mix of Kendall Graveman, Taijuan Walker, and Justin Dunn.
- Clayton Kershaw has been named Opening Day starter for the Dodgers, whose rotation became more unsettled by news that David Price will be sitting out the season. After Walker Buehler, the rotation appears likely to include Julio Urias, Alex Wood, and Ross Stripling, with Dustin May another possibility. The abortive trade of Stripling to the Angels may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
- The Reds have announced Sonny Gray as their Opening Day starter. He will be joined in the rotation by Luis Castillo, Trevor Bauer, Wade Miley, and Anthony DeSclafani.
- The Mets are considering a closer-by-committee approach to closing games to start the season after a disappointing year from Edwin Diaz. The other pitchers in the mix to protect the lead in the ninth are Seth Lugo, Dellin Betances, and Jeurys Familia.
The following players have announced their intention to sit out of the 2020 season due to the risk of being exposed to COVID-19:
- Tyson Ross
- Joe Ross
- Ryan Zimmerman
- Ian Desmond
- Mike Leake
- David Price
- Nick Markakis
- Felix Hernandez
- Welington Castillo
- Hector Noesi
Illnesses and Injuries
- Freddie Freeman continues to recover after feeling symptoms of and testing positive for COVID-19. He remains in quarantine and has indicated that he is starting to feel better.
- Jimmy Nelson underwent back surgery on Tuesday ending his 2020 season with the Angels.
- Giancarlo Stanton says that his calf is feeling 100 percent. He suffered a grade 1 strain of the right calf in February. He should be ready to DH for the Yankees on Opening Day.
- Stanton’s fellow Yankee slugger Aaron Judge expects to be recovered from a fractured rib and plans to start the season on Opening Day.
- Brandon Morrow had surgery for a nerve issue and will sit out the 2020 season.
The following players have tested positive for COVID-19, but are asymptomatic and are sitting out until they are cleared to return by passing two negative tests in a row. Other teams have reported positive tests without disclosing the names of the players involved.
Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals
New York Yankees
St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres
- Juan Soto (no positive test, exposure only)
The following players have yet to appear in summer workouts, but have not been reported to be injured or to have tested positive for COVID-19 (which the team is not required to disclose):
- Yordan Alvarez
- Tyler Glasnow
- Austin Meadows
- Yoan Moncada
- Julio Teheran
- Michael Kopech
- Keone Kela
- Alex Bregman
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)