Spring Training 2.0 was not kind.
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- Justin Verlander is not having a great yet, but if you're going to get injured, then he picked the right time to do that. The veteran pitcher will be sidelined with a forearm strain for at least the next few games, he confirmed on his personal Twitter. His timeline on recovery is unknown but Verlander per his tweet seemed to be optimistic that this was not a season-ending or hysteria inducing issue. Fingers crossed.
- The Marlins have delayed their travel itinerary after several players tested positive for COVID-19. This could be the beginning of a very serious outbreak for Marlins team members and staff. Any infected players from the team could have also potentially spread the virus to members of the Phillies, who they recently played. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that all of the tests taken in precaution come back negative.
- While the Nationals were one of the four teams back in action yesterday, Juan Soto was not on the field and with good reason as yesterday, he tested positive for COVID-19. It is worth mentioning that he took a bevy of rapid response tests which came back negative, so there is a small hope that his original test was a false positive, but until he gets back to back negative test results from the licensed lab, Washington is going to be without arguably their best player.
- The Reds have placed Mike Moustakas on the injured list, citing COVID-like symptoms but not elaborating further. But wait, there’s more! Cincy has also scratched Nick Senzel, who ironically was added to the lineup with Moustakas was pulled. No news yet on Senzel and if he’s fallen victim to COVID-19 as well, as he remains on the active Reds roster.
- The big news on the eve of the 2020 season finally getting underway was that Mookie Betts, who was going to be in line to get a huge free agent deal after this season, decided instead to sign a huge 12 year, $365 million contract extension with the Dodgers. The Dodgers are probably feeling a bit better about the trade from this offseason that brought Mookie to LA in the first place now.
- So pretty much baseball began without the Blue Jays even having a legitimate place to call their home turf and was like, “Lol good luck with that one.” But they are a wondering baseball team no more! The Blue Jays will be playing in their Triple-A stadium in Buffalo for their home games this year. Their first home game is scheduled for August 11th.
- The Mets always seem to have some sort of injury shenanigans going on. After already losing Zack Wheeler to free agency and Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery, the Mets’ rotation took another hit as Marcus Stroman was sent to the injury list with a muscle tear in his calf. Even if he can somehow come back in a just a couple weeks, the effect of his absence will be amplified in this shorter season and there is no reason to think that this injury will be resolved in that amount of time, either.
- One night after Giants players and coaches and Angels reliever Keynan Middleton kicked off a trend by kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, the movement grew on Tuesday. Joey Votto and Amir Garrett were among the Reds players who protested, while Aaron Judge said Yankees players have discussed the possibility of kneeling.
- In case you’re constantly drained by baseball and missed this one, in a move that shocked literally no one because it makes total sense, the Blue Jays have been denied permission to play regular-season games in Toronto. Canada has dead bolted their doors and honestly, I don’t blame them.
- Need to scratch a baseball itch you quite can’t reach? Check out our MLB Power Rankings, except this time it’s for the second round of spring training and everything is insane.
- In order to play baseball, you have to have umpires and this could prove to be a bit more difficult now after last week, when at least 10 umpires had opted out of the 2020 season with more possibly joining them.
- Astros reliever Joe Smith is one of a growing number of players to opt out of the 2020 season. His decision was expected for a while as he cited health concerns for his family as to why he wasn’t in camp yet, but this is yet another reminder that players are constantly thinking about whether or not playing this season is worth it.
- There have been two types of players who have been opting out of the 2020 season, those who are at-risk and those who are not. While we completely understand the rationales for both camps, the latest play who decided to opt out is at-risk as Jordan Hicks made the difficult decision last week. Not only is he recovering from injury, but he is also a diabetic. We hope for nothing but the best for all of these guys.
- More and more players are starting to pop up as positive with coronavirus as tests are being processed which, in itself, has been an ordeal. To help you keep track of all of the public information on COVID-19 in MLB, you should check out the tracker we put together.
- Rob Manfred and MLB’s owners had done a truly bad job of hiding the fact that they were negotiating in bad faith with the players, but at least they weren’t saying it out loud...until now. Few were confused by the fact that while the owners gave out proposals with differing percentages and numbers of games, the owners never appreciably offered to pay for more than about 60 games’ worth of fully prorated salary which is EXACTLY what we ended up with. Unfortunately, Manfred said the quiet part out loud when he said that MLB was never going to play more than 60 games regardless of how the negotiations were going. Not only does that comment diminish the league’s/owners’ chances in the inevitable grievance that players bring, but it also gives the appearance to fans that Manfred and co. dragged the entire sport through the mud over the last few months for nothing.
- In tragic, unsettling news, MLB teams have released hundreds of minor league players, with more players likely to be released in the coming weeks. As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds across the country, billionaires are making the choices to cut menial, insignificant costs in the form of the people who make them money. If you’re looking to help during this difficult times, tweet us at @mlbdailydish while we work with Adopt A Minor Leaguer to help find sponsors for MiLB players struggling.
- MLB and Minor League Baseball are reportedly close to an agreement that would cause 42 minor-league teams to lose their big-league affiliations. While there are perhaps a few positives to be taken from this deal — every club will have the same number of minor-league affiliates, travel will be more efficient, and minor-leaguers will get paid more — it’s extremely rough news for employees and fans in the affected markets and the players whose dreams will be crushed as more than 1,000 jobs are eliminated.