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MLB NOTEBOOK

More COVID-19 delays as Cardinals’ series in Detroit, Field of Dreams game postponed

Major League Baseball's inaugural Field of Dreams game already underwent one change due to the pandemic, with the Cardinals replacing the Yankees as the opponent for the Chicago White Sox, before the decision Monday to push the game back to 2021.
Major League Baseball's inaugural Field of Dreams game already underwent one change due to the pandemic, with the Cardinals replacing the Yankees as the opponent for the Chicago White Sox, before the decision Monday to push the game back to 2021.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Seven St. Louis Cardinals players and six staff members tested positive for COVID-19, causing Major League Baseball to postpone the team’s four-game series Tuesday-Thursday at Detroit.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said five of those who tested positive did not show symptoms. The others did, including headaches, cough, sniffles, low-grade fever.

The Cardinals have been in quarantine since Thursday in Milwaukee, where their series last weekend was postponed. The team is being tested daily. St. Louis last played July 29 at Minnesota and is tentatively set to resume its schedule Friday at home against the Chicago Cubs.

In another virus development, the Field of Dreams game in Iowa was postponed until 2021. The game at a new ballpark on the cornfield adjacent to the site of the 1989 movie had been planned for Aug. 13 in Dyersville.

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The Chicago White Sox originally were to host the New York Yankees, who were replaced by St. Louis because of MLB’s new schedule. The White Sox will be one of the teams next year, the opponent not determined.

Forearm strain might finish Shohei Ohtani’s pitching season after two starts

Shohei Ohtani has a right forearm strain that will prevent the Angels’ two-way star from throwing for at least four to six weeks, possibly ending his season as a pitcher after just two starts.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler announced the 26-year-old Ohtani “has a grade 1-2 strain of the flexor pronator mass” — a collection of muscles and tendons in the forearm near the elbow. The right-hander reported discomfort in his arm Sunday after he issued five walks and got only five outs in a rough 50-pitch start against Houston.

Ohtani is traveling with the Angels to Seattle, where they open a six-game road trip Tuesday night. The Angels also use Ohtani as their primary designated hitter between his mound starts, and he is day-to-day as a hitter, the team said. But Ohtani is unlikely to begin a throwing program for at least a month, which means he might not have time to build himself back up before the 60-game major league season ends in late September.

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While he has been a solid DH, Ohtani pitched in only 10 games during his AL Rookie of the Year campaign before requiring Tommy John surgery in late 2018, and he didn’t make it through the second inning in either of his starts after returning to the mound this season.

Also Monday, the Associated Press reported top prospect Jo Adell is joining Los Angeles, and could make his major league debut on Tuesday. The 21-year-old outfielder is ranked the No. 6 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, while other talent evaluators rank him even higher. Three-time AL MVP Mike Trout is expected to rejoin the last-place Angels after missing their past four games for the birth of his first child.

Terry Francona, shown arguing a call last week, missed a Cleveland game last season for eye surgery and missed a week in 2017 following a heart procedure.
Terry Francona, shown arguing a call last week, missed a Cleveland game last season for eye surgery and missed a week in 2017 following a heart procedure.Jason Miller/Getty

As Kris Bryant returns from stomach woes, Terry Francona departs Indians for tests

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona will miss at least the club’s two-game series in Cincinnati because of a gastrointestinal issue that has bothered him for months.

Francona was scheduled to be checked Monday by doctors at the Cleveland Clinic. Team President Chris Antonetti said the team will “take it one step at a time” and that it’s too early to know when the 61-year-old manager will return.

Francona, in his eighth season with Cleveland after winning two championships with the Red Sox from 2004–11, didn’t feel well before the team’s game Sunday at Minnesota. After doing his pregame media availability, he left the ballpark and returned to the team’s hotel. The Indians said he was suffering from the same issue that caused him to miss a couple of spring training games in Arizona in March.

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“It’s concerning from the fact that it makes Tito really uncomfortable, so it’s just something we want to try and navigate and help him feel better,” Antonetti said on a Zoom call from Cincinnati, assuring the ailment is not COVID-19-related. “That’s what we’re trying to focus on. As you can imagine, Tito loves being around his team and has high pain tolerance, but the continual discomfort is just something we wanted to get checked out.

“I did have to nudge him and push him toward that end to make sure he prioritized getting it checked out and not just continue to try and tough through it.”

First-base coach Sandy Alomar is filling in as Cleveland’s manager while Francona is sidelined. The Indians are also missing bench coach Brad Mills, who chose not to participate in the shortened season to be with his family.

Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant, meanwhile, returned to the starting lineup against Kansas City after missing two games with his own stomach ailment. The 28-year-old, batting .120 (3 for 25) in his first six games, was leading off and playing left field.

Mike Soroka is helped off the field after sustaining a right-leg injury in the third inning Monday in Atlanta.
Mike Soroka is helped off the field after sustaining a right-leg injury in the third inning Monday in Atlanta.Todd Kirkland/Getty

Mookie Betts held out by Dodgers with swollen finger

Mookie Betts was out of the Dodgers lineup in San Diego because of a finger injury on his left hand sustained during an at-bat on Sunday. Manager Dave Roberts said the swelling in Betts’ finger remained substantial, but he could be used on defense . . . Atlanta ace Mike Soroka had to be helped off the field in the third inning of an eventual 7-2 Braves loss to the Mets, his right leg buckling underneath him as he ran to cover first base. The 23-year-old righthander, second in last year’s NL Rookie of the Year voting, yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. New York pulled three players due to injuries. Jeff McNeil was scratched just before first pitch after experiencing lower back tightness, Amed Rosario came out with tightness in his left quad after a third-inning grounder, and Robinson Canó left with tightness in his left groin in the fifth . . . Brewers manager Craig Counsell says bench coach Pat Murphy has been released from the hospital after suffering a heart attack during a team workout Saturday . . . Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter blamed the team’s 21 COVID-19 infections, including at least 18 players, on a collective false sense of security that made players lax about social distancing and wearing masks. “Guys were around each other, they got relaxed and they let their guard down,” Jeter said. “They were getting together in groups. They weren’t wearing masks as much as they should have. They weren’t social distancing. The entire traveling party got a little too comfortable.” Jeter also said his players were annoyed by speculation that reckless misbehavior was to blame, but that “we did have a couple of individuals leave the hotel. We had guys leave to get coffee, to get clothes. A guy left to have dinner at a teammate’s house. . . . There was no salacious activity” . . . Cincinnati activated star first baseman Joey Votto from the injured list prior to its game against visiting Cleveland. Votto was placed on the IL on Sunday, with The Athletic reporting he had self-reported COVID-19 symptoms. Votto tested negative for COVID-19 both Sunday morning and Monday, according to reports, and hit his third homer of the season in the sixth inning to give the Reds the lead.

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