Good morning, Athletics Nation!
In the baseball world this week, all eyes are on the situation surrounding the Miami Marlins, who have seen an outbreak of positive coronavirus tests on their team that has led to games being postponed for further testing. Miami’s home opener against the Orioles wasn’t played Monday, and even Philadelphia will sit out again Tuesday as well after the Phillies played the Marlins over the weekend and were thus exposed.
In the purest baseball terms, leaving aside the obvious primary human element of people’s lives and health, the presence of the pandemic hanging over this season brings with it the fear that any particular player could suddenly test positive and be lost from competition for two weeks — nearly a quarter of the short schedule. But with so much attention on that danger, it’s easy to forget that regular ol’ injuries are also still a thing to watch out for.
The Texas Rangers were reminded of that over the weekend, as pitcher Corey Kluber exited his debut start early with shoulder trouble. It turns out that Kluber has a “grade 2 tear of the teres major muscle,” reports Levi Weaver of The Athletic. He won’t need surgery, but will sit out a month before reevaluating, with the hope of returning to the bullpen late in the season.
It’s a tough blow for Kluber, who made only seven starts in 2019 due to various other injuries. It’s also a setback for the Rangers, who bought low on the two-time Cy Young winner last winter in the hope of developing another bounce-back star for their already strong rotation. They’ll have to make a tough decision on Kluber’s $18 million contract option next winter, after two straight years on the shelf for the right-hander.
The other Texas-based team is also dealing with the injury bug, as the Houston Astros are without another star pitcher. They’d already lost defending Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to a forearm strain over the weekend, and on Monday they announced that All-Star reliever Ryan Pressly is out with elbow soreness, reports insider Brian McTaggart. Fellow All-Star reliever Chris Devenski, who last pitched Sunday, is also dealing with elbow issues. The Astros have tons of pitching depth to help cover for the absences, but at some point the missing stars do begin to add up, even for a juggernaut.
On top of all that, the Los Angeles Angels got a scare on Monday in their game against the Oakland A’s, with further details still to come. In the 9th inning, shortstop Andrelton Simmons beat out an infield single but stumbled on the base, turning his ankle and then exiting the game for a pinch-runner. He’s still being evaluated, but it’s worth noting he sprained the same ankle last year and missed substantial time.
There will always be injuries in sports, but hopefully these ones don’t turn out to be too bad and the players can get back on the field as soon as possible. There’s enough else to worry about health-wise these days, without adding pitchers’ elbows and shoulders to the list.
The A’s host the division rival Rangers and Astros at the Coliseum from Aug. 4-9, and then visit them both in Texas from Aug. 24-30. Here’s the full schedule.
- Lockard: A’s lean heavily on their bullpen to take opening series over the Angels ($$$)
- Hickey: Petit-Led Bullpen Has Athletics at 3-1 Even As Coronavirus Concerns Accelerate
- Hickey: Marlins aren’t on Athletics’ Schedule, but they Suddenly Have a Huge Impact on it
- Hickey: As MLB’s COVID-19 Crisis Expands, Athletics Are Watching, Waiting and Crossing Fingers
- Kawahara: A’s ‘know the risk out there’; MLB postpones 2 games after Marlins coronavirus outbreak ($)
- Gallegos: A strength’s a strength: Bullpen fueling A’s
- Hall: Game #4: Chris Bassitt, bullpen shut out Angels 3-0 to win opening series
- Hall: A’s release Daniel Gossett, add Ben Bracewell to player pool
- Hall: A’s bullpen is smokin’ hot after first series of 2020
MLB News, & Interest
- Feinsand: Commissioner addresses positive tests
- Gelb: Inside the Phillies’ evolving response to the Marlins outbreak
- Harding: Rockies Tim Collins opts out of season
- Bowman: Braves DFA 2018 All-Star pitcher Mike Foltynewicz
- Toribio: Rays shatter club record with 19-K outing
- Today in Baseball History
Yesterday Game Highlights
Monday: Win! And a shutout, thanks to this guy!
Plus a bat flip for insurance
Best of Twitter
Second day of postponements after the Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak
Slow testing seems to be a running (walking?) theme
MLB source confirms that tonight’s Yankees-Phillies game has been postponed. Some Phillies players are still waiting for test results.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) July 28, 2020
Commmish remains optimistic (which can sometimes last entire days at a time with him)
"We think we can keep people safe and continue to play." - Commissioner Rob Manfred, on @MLBNetwork— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 27, 2020
It will be tough to measure in this specific case since the Marlins weren’t competitive to begin with
What would force Manfred to pause a team's season? "A team losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive"— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 27, 2020
Notable signing in Washington
Josh Harrison and Nats are in agreement on an MLB deal, pending physical. Adds yet another very versatile player to mix.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 25, 2020
Cal guys all wearing their masks (well, Canha’s doesn’t count I guess since it doesn’t cover his nose)
A’s first two trips are to just Seattle this weekend (Fri-Mon) and then three-city LA/SF/AZ in mid-August. Then Texas at end of August.
Bob Melvin says A's have taken protocols seriously, but there is some trepidation about first road trip later this week as well as just every day dealing with baseball during a pandemic. Fact the A's are considered contenders doesn't matter much in the context of health/safety.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 27, 2020
“Now I’d like to address our fans, all those dedicated cutouts and oversized teddy bears who stick with us every day because they’re inanimate and can’t leave ...”
Confirmed: pregame ceremonies are really strange with no fans in the crowd.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) July 27, 2020