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MLB Notebook

Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes opts out of 2020 season after failing to show up for game

Yoenis Cespedes is hitting only .161 this season for the Mets in his first action in nearly a year and a half because of injuries.
Yoenis Cespedes is hitting only .161 this season for the Mets in his first action in nearly a year and a half because of injuries.Mike Stobe/Getty

New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has opted out of the rest of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, Brodie Van Wagenen, the team’s general manager, announced Sunday afternoon. Van Wagenen said Cespedes was opting out for “COVID-related” reasons.

The announcement came after Cespedes had failed to show up Sunday for the Mets’ game in Atlanta against the Braves. The team said in a statement before the game that their attempt to contact Cespedes had been unsuccessful.

Van Wagenen described Cespedes’ decision as “a surprise.” When Cespedes failed to show up to the ballpark, the team sent security to his hotel room in Atlanta, but he was not there, Van Wagenen said. He indicated the team was still unsure where Cespedes was.

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“I’m not sure of his travel at this point,” Van Wagenen said.

New York Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen watches his team's intrasquad game late last month.
New York Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen watches his team's intrasquad game late last month.Kathy Willens/Associated Press

For the majority of the past two seasons, the Mets have missed the power hitting of Cespedes, their highly paid outfielder. The list of reasons for his absences ranged from undergoing surgery on both heels during one offseason to injuring his right ankle during a fall at his Florida ranch during his rehabilitation.

Cespedes, 34, made an immediate effect this season as the designated hitter in the season opener when he stroked a home run to propel the Mets over the Braves, 1-0. It was his first home run since his previous major league game, on July 20, 2018.

But he has struggled since, posting a batting average of .161 through eight games. On Saturday, he struck out twice and was 0 for 4 as the Mets lost 7-1.

On Sunday, the Mets (3-7) lost to the Braves, 4-0, extending their losing streak to five games.

The Mets acquired Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers just before the trade deadline in 2015 and rode his bat to the World Series. That offseason, he signed a three-year contract worth $75 million to remain a Met. He exercised his opt-out clause the next winter after hitting 31 home runs with 86 RBIs.

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Earlier Sunday, the Mets traded right-hander Jordan Humphreys to the San Francisco Giants for Billy Hamilton, a defensive-minded outfielder.

No new positives for Marlins

The Miami Marlins left Philadelphia, where they were stranded in isolation for a week after their season-opening series because of a coronavirus outbreak that sidelined half of the team.

With the affected players already back in the Miami, the healthy Marlins traveled to Baltimore, where they are scheduled to resume play Tuesday.

For the second day in a row, the Marlins had no new positive tests among players and staff, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the results had not been publicly released.

The Philadelphia Phillies also received results and had no new positives. The team was to work out at Citizens Bank Park in preparation for the resumption of its season Monday at the New York Yankees.

The Marlins haven’t played since July 26 in Philadelphia because of the outbreak within their traveling party. Infected Marlins players and staff left Philadelphia in sleeper buses Friday and returned to Miami to quarantine there.

Doubleheader history

In the opener of the first seven-inning doubleheader in Major League Baseball history, Shogo Akiyama hit an RBI single in the seventh that sent the Cincinnati Reds over the Tigers 4-3 in Detroit.

It was strange from the start — the scoreboard at Comerica Park listed nine innings instead of the usual seven.

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There was no seventh-inning stretch — or even fifth-inning break — in a game that took 2 hours, 26 minutes. The start of the game was delayed more than two hours because of rain.

Cincinnati's Shogo Akiyama hits against Detroit in the first inning of Sunday's game.
Cincinnati's Shogo Akiyama hits against Detroit in the first inning of Sunday's game.Paul Sancya/Associated Press

MLB recently decided to use doubleheaders of seven-inning games, which have been commonplace in the minor leagues and colleges, to help teams alleviate an expected crush of twinbills in the shortened, 60-day season caused by weather and virus-related postponements. The Reds-Tigers game was rained out Saturday.

Former Tigers player Nick Castellanos homered twice and drove in three runs for Cincinnati. But his three-base error in right field with the bases loaded in the sixth inning allowed Detroit to tie the game.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto was placed on the injured list before the opener. The team gave no reason for the move but specified that Votto, a six-time All-Star, is not on the 10-day injured list. The move made room to activate righthanded pitcher Anthony Desclafani (shoulder) from the 10-day IL. Desclafani started the first game of the doubleheader, allowing three hits in five shutout innings, but even in a shortened game the Reds bullpen couldn’t hold a 3-0 lead..

Rockies’ Oberg may be out for season

Colorado's Scott Oberg could be out for an extended stretch.
Colorado's Scott Oberg could be out for an extended stretch.Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The Rockies may be without reliever Scott Oberg of Tewksbury for the rest of the season after he developed blood clots in his right arm for a third time in his career. Manager Bud Black said Oberg felt some discomfort in his throwing hand Saturday during a throwing session. He was evaluated by vascular doctors, who discovered the clots. Oberg was already on the 10-day injured list with a strained back. Colorado was looking at him to possibly take over the closer’s role for a struggling Wade Davis, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain. With Davis sidelined, the Rockies could go with some combination of Jairo Diaz, Carlos Estevez, and Daniel Bard in the late innings. The hard-throwing Bard has been a welcomed addition after being out of baseball for more than seven years due to his struggles to consistently throw strikes … Mike Trout is expected to return to the Angels on Tuesday after missing four games to be with his wife and newborn son. The three-time AL MVP is likely to play in Seattle at the start of a six-game road trip, Angels manager Joe Maddon said … Cubs slugger Kris Bryant was out of the lineup for a second straight game, a day after reporting a stomach ailment. Bryant was tested for the coronavirus on Friday and Saturday, and the Cubs said both tests were negative. He is scheduled to be tested again on Monday ... Cleveland manager Terry Francona left the team before its game at Minnesota due to what the Indians said was a minor gastrointestinal condition not related to COVID-19. Francona conducted his regular pregame media briefing via video conference from Target Field. The club announced his absence about an hour later. The 61-year-old Francona returned to the team hotel, and first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. took over managing duty for the four-game series finale against the Twins ... Milwaukee Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy suffered a heart attack during a Saturday team workout at Miller Park, but team officials said he was resting comfortably and should be out of the hospital later this week. Brewers general manager David Stearns said the 61-year-old Murphy received a stent and is expected to get released from Froedtert Hospital “in a couple of days.” Stearns said it was too early to estimate when Murphy might be back in uniform.

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