COVID-19 continues to impact major league rosters more than 16 months after spring training was shut down in 2020 because of the coronavirus.
The Washington Nationals will likely be without star shortstop Trea Turner for the next several days, while the Milwaukee Brewers will be missing 2018 National League MVP Christian Yelich for more than a week.
Turner and Yelich recently tested positive. Yelich and teammate Jace Peterson were placed on the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday. Turner was pulled in the first inning of Tuesday night’s game at Philadelphia.
Turner began the day batting .320 with 18 home runs and 49 RBIs. He singled and scored in the first inning, then headed directly up the tunnel toward the Nationals’ clubhouse and was replaced in the bottom of the first.
The Phillies announced later in the game that Turner had tested positive, ending speculation that he was lifted for a possible pending trade or because of injury.
Yelich will miss at least 10 days from his positive test.
The 29-year-old Yelich — who has been vaccinated against the virus — was feeling mild symptoms.
Yelich played one game in a five-week stretch from mid-April to mid-May because of a lower-back strain. He is batting .235 with six homers, 28 RBIs and a .367 slugging percentage in 67 games.
Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge and backup catcher Kyle Higashioka were reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced the moves before Tuesday night’s game at Tampa Bay, which New York won, 4-3. Judge started in right field and batted second. He went 1 for 4 and was hit by a pitch.
“It’s huge, obviously,” Boone said of Judge’s return. “Really excited to have him back. Has been feeling really strong the last few days.”
In the game, Jordan Montgomery stopped an eight-start winless streak. The lefthander was 0-4 over his previous eight outings since beating Tampa Bay on June 2, despite allowing three or fewer runs seven times.
Graveman to Astros
The Astros landed one of the top relievers in baseball, acquiring righthander Kendall Graveman from the Mariners in an odd intra-division trade while the teams were preparing to play each other.
Graveman and Rafael Montero were sent to Houston, with infielder Abraham Toro and reliever Joe Smith going back to Seattle.
The move bolsters a Houston bullpen that has struggled at times and has an ERA above 4.00 this season.
Graveman is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 10 saves in 30 appearances this year. He missed nearly a month because of COVID-19 protocols in May and June but has been dominant on the mound. Graveman has not allowed an earned run in his past 12 appearances.
Montero was designated for assignment by the Mariners last week after being acquired in the offseason from Texas.
On Seattle’s side, it’s appears a baffling decision to give up its most dominant reliever while failing to fill a position of need with the Mariners just one game behind Oakland in the AL wild-card race.
But general manager Jerry Dipoto said it’s likely the first of several moves the Mariners will make in the coming days with the hope of improving the big league club.
Stephen Strasburg will have season-ending neck surgery, Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Tuesday, ending another frustrating year for Washington’s 2019 World Series hero.
The three-time All-Star righthander felt discomfort after a 27-pitch bullpen session last week and saw a specialist on Monday. Strasburg, who is 1-2 with a 4.57 ERA in five starts this season, was diagnosed with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome and will be operated on by Dr. Greg Pearl in Dallas on Wednesday.
“He’s down, he’s frustrated,” Martinez said. “Hopefully after this procedure is done, it’s the next hurdle, recovering, and then starting to rehab as soon as he possibly can.”
Injuries have limited Strasburg to seven starts since he was named MVP of Washington’s World Series win over Houston two years ago. He last pitched on June 1.
Martinez said he expects Strasburg to be ready for the start of spring training next year.
“I know what kind of workhorse he is when healthy,” Martinez said.
Riley slams Mets
Austin Riley hit a grand slam and a two-run homer to set a career high with six RBIs, powering the Braves to a 12-5 rout of the Mets in New York. Ozzie Albies and Abraham Almonte also had two-run homers for the Braves, who have won two of the first three in a five-game series as they chase the first-place Mets in the NL East … Former Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon hit a three-run homer in the second inning, helping the Marlins to a 7-3 victory over the host Orioles. Lewin Diaz and Brian Anderson added solo shots for Miami, which has won three straight … Omar Narvaez homered and had four RBIs, Brett Anderson pitched six strong innings, and the Brewers scored eight runs in the first two innings to roll past the Pirates, 9-0, in Pittsburgh … In Cleveland, Adam Wainwright won in his first appearance at Progressive Field, Paul DeJong hit a go-ahead homer, and the Cardinals beat the Indians, 4-2. Wainwright (8-6) went seven innings and earned his 175th career victory. This was the 33rd stadium he’s pitched in during regular-season play.