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MLB Notebook

MLB eases COVID-19 restrictions, ends mask mandate for vaccinated players

MLB will relax some COVID-19 restrictions on players, coaches and personnel, including wearing masks in the dugout, clubhouse and bullpen.
MLB will relax some COVID-19 restrictions on players, coaches and personnel, including wearing masks in the dugout, clubhouse and bullpen.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

All fully vaccinated players and staff can stop wearing masks in dugouts, bullpens and clubhouses under the latest change to Major League Baseball’s coronavirus protocols.

In addition, fully vaccinated players and staff may eat in restaurants without restrictions and attend sporting events as spectators at venues with government-approved safety protocols, the commissioner’s office and players’ association said in a memo sent Wednesday night.

Kinexon electronic tracing devices and monitor testing are being eliminated, and compliance officers no longer have to accompany teams on trips.

Social distancing and mask requirements have been eliminated for team busses involving fully vaccinated players and staff, and players and staff can resume arriving at clubhouses more than five hours before game time.

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Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated players and staff still must wear masks but it will not be considered a violation to remove or pull down the mask to briefly eat or drink, before entering or leaving a shower or at the direction of the medical or training staff.

Clubhouse social distancing was eliminated for all teams reaching 85% vaccination among tier 1 individuals such as players, managers, coaches and training staff. As of last Friday, 22 of the 30 teams had reached 85% among tier 1 individuals.

Restrictions on team individuals dining together also were eliminated, with the exception that non-vaccinated individuals must still wear masks when not eating or drinking.

Fully vaccinated players and staff also can resume commercial travel without PCR intake testing when they rejoin the team, unless they show COVID-19 symptoms or are known to have been exposed. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated family may stay with fully vaccinated players and staff on the road, and players and staff can use hotel pools and fitness centers, with provisions that masks are required in fitness centers if they are open to the public and that physical distancing is required in pools.

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The five-day quarantine was eliminated for free agents and players selected to a team’s 40-man roster who were not in the COVID testing program previously.

Met’s deGrom’s shoulder cleared by MRI

Mets ace Jacob deGrom’s shoulder showed no abnormalities, but New York was not yet ready to commit to him taking his next turn in the rotation on Sunday against Washington.

DeGrom left his second straight start with an arm injury, coming out after three perfect innings against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night with right shoulder soreness. He had an MRI on Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery that was reviewed by Mets medical director David Altchek and an outside expert.

Jacob deGrom is 6-2 with a 0.54 ERA this season.
Jacob deGrom is 6-2 with a 0.54 ERA this season.Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

“We had an MRI taken on him and ran it through two doctors just to have a second opinion, as well, and both doctors had the same prognosis from the imaging: It just shows as a normal shoulder a pitcher would have and there’s no concern,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.

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Yankees ship Mike Ford to Tampa Bay Rays

First baseman Mike Ford was traded by the New York Yankees to the Tampa Bay Rays for $100,000 and a player to be named.

Ford was designated for assignment Saturday when reliever Zack Britton was activated from the injured list.

The money in the trade is payable July 1.

Ford, who turns 29 on July 4, had a strong rookie season with the Yankees in 2019, hitting .259 with 12 homers and 25 RBIs in 143 at-bats over 50 games.

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Morton takes no-hitter into 7th, Braves win

Charlie Morton didn’t allow a hit until the seventh inning and took a shutout into the eighth, lifting the Braves over the Cardinals 4-0. Morton gave up his first hit when Paul Goldschmidt lined a single to left-center with one out, but the right-hander followed by getting Nolan Arenado to pop up and struck out Tyler O’Neill ...The Arizona Diamondbacks set a major league record with their 23rd straight road loss, making dubious history in getting trounced by the San Francisco Giants 10-3 . The dejected D-backs trudged off the field and quietly made their way back to Oracle Park’s visiting clubhouse following the final out of their latest loss, breaking a tie with the 1963 Mets and ’43 Philadelphia Athletics for road futility ... José Ramírez and Bobby Bradley homered during a three-run first inning and the Cleveland Indians beat the Orioles 10-3 , extending Baltimore’s road losing streak to 19 games ... The Texas Rangers acquired right-hander Dennis Santana from the Dodgers in a trade , sending minor league lefty Kevin Bautista to Los Angeles ... The Cleveland Indians placed catcher Austin Hedges on the 7-day concussion list prior to the game against Baltimore ... The St. Louis Cardinals have signed left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year contract that pays $800,000 while in the major leagues and $150,000 while in the minors. Manager Mike Shildt said LeBlanc will pitch in relief ... Houston third baseman Alex Bregman was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left quadriceps.

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