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‘Crisis management’: Nats’ COVID-19 outbreak scraps Mets series

An electronic sign encouraging mask wearing is seen at Nationals Park on Thursday, after the season opener between Washington and the Mets was called off. The Nationals won't play until Monday at the earliest due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.
An electronic sign encouraging mask wearing is seen at Nationals Park on Thursday, after the season opener between Washington and the Mets was called off. The Nationals won't play until Monday at the earliest due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

A COVID-19 outbreak affecting more than a third of the Washington Nationals’ roster caused the postponement of the 2019 World Series champions’ season-opening three-game series against the visiting New York Mets.

Four of Washington’s players have tested positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and another five were quarantining after contact tracing determined they might have been exposed, general manager Mike Rizzo said Friday in a video call with reporters.

“We’re in crisis management mode,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo has not identified any of the players involved in the outbreak — and said Friday he would not. His team is in a holding pattern, uncertain when it actually will be allowed to even hold workouts, never mind play a game.

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After games against the Mets scheduled for Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at Nationals Park were scratched, the next possible contest for Washington would be at home against the NL East champion Atlanta Braves on Monday.

“Depending on what happens in the next day or so, we’ll be in contact with MLB, and we’ll make the decision on whether we’re playing or not,” Rizzo said. "But we are, as of right now, preparing to play Monday.”

Major League Baseball and the players’ union issued a testing update Friday, saying there were four new positive tests — three players and one staff member — from the 14,354 tests administered over the past week across all of the sport, a 0.03 percent rate.

Trevor Bauer throws six no-hit innings in Dodgers debut

Trevor Bauer lost his no-hit bid and a shutout during the seventh inning in his Los Angeles Dodgers debut against the Colorado Rockies, sparking an inning in which Colorado scored six times on four home runs. It didn’t deny him a win, however, LA claiming an 11-6 victory on 16 hits.

Trevor Story singled to lead off the inning and Charlie Blackmon followed with a two-run homer. Ryan McMahon later hit another two-run homer.

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The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner kept the Rockies off balance by mixing in a cutter, slider and four-seam fastball. He was pulled after 6⅓ innings with 10 strikeouts, three hits and two walks on 96 pitches.

There’s only been one no-hitter at Coors Field — by former Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo on Sept. 17, 1996.

International percentage holds firm from 2020

More than 28 percent of Major League Baseball players were born outside the 50 states. That represents a drop for the fourth straight season, although this decrease was just one-tenth of one percent.

MLB said there were 256 such players of the 906 on opening day rosters, injured lists, the restricted list, and the paternity list. The Dominican Republic led with 98, down from 110 last year with the expanded roster, followed by Venezuela (64), Cuba (19), and Puerto Rico (18).

Houston led with 15 players born outside the 50 states, followed by Minnesota and San Diego (14 each) and Miami (13).

Also represented this year: Mexico (11), Canada (10), Japan (eight), Colombia (six), Curaçao (five), South Korea (four), and Panama (two) with multiple players, and Aruba (Boston’s Xander Bogaerts), Australia, Bahamas (Miami’s Jazz Chisholm, the first Bahamian on an opening day roster since MLB started keeping records), Brazil, Germany, Honduras, Netherlands, Nicaragua, and Taiwan with one each.

Black Keys drummer steps up in Cleveland

With long-time drummer and Cleveland fixture John Adams recovering from heart surgery and unable to attend his first opener in Cleveland in 48 years, Black Keys drummer and life-long fan Patrick Carney will fill in and pound away from the left-field bleachers during Monday’s game against Detroit. Adams, who first started banging away on his drum in 1973, will bestow drumming duties and his bleacher seat for the day to Carney during an in-game video presentation . . . Joey Wendle hit a three-run homer, highlighting a four-run rally in the ninth inning that sent Tampa Bay to a second straight win in Miami, 6-4, over the Marlins. Wendle’s one-out shot off closer Anthony Bass (0-1) landed in the upper deck in right field and erased a 4-2 deficit. Manuel Margot then tripled and scored on Francisco Mejia’s sacrifice fly. Margot also homered and Austin Meadows went deep for the second consecutive game.

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