Just a couple more days, that’s all we have to wait for the start of the MLB season and another step towards sports being back. Here are some headlines from the weekend you should know about as the start of the season approaches.
Wayward Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays will not be the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020. Despite getting permission from the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario to play their home games at the Rogers Centre, the Canadian Government denied the team’s request to host games in Toronto.
Canada has strict rules about people self-quarantining for 14 days when they enter the country, and they won’t make an exception for the Blue Jays or their opponents. The Blue Jays are reportedly looking for a major league park that they can call home in 2020.
Obviously, time is running out to find a stadium that’s willing to take the Blue Jays. The alternatives are the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo or their spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla.
However, both options have their shortcomings. Meanwhile, most of the players would prefer to play in a major league stadium, if possible.
The season might be over before it starts for a couple of players. The Tigers have placed veteran starter Jordan Zimmermann on the 45-day injured list because of a forearm strain. The plan for Zimmermann is to rehab rather than have surgery. However, going on the 45-day injured list only gives him a small window to return at the end of the season if his elbow trouble clears up.
Elsewhere, Pittsburgh catcher Luke Maile is set to miss the next 10 to 12 weeks after requiring surgery to address a broken finger. Maile suffered the injury during an intra-squad game when he got hit by a pitch. Missing 10 to 12 weeks is essentially the entire season, so it will likely keep him out for the entire season.
Red Sox pitcher Collin McHugh has become the latest player to opt out of the 2020 season. His decision is in part because of concerns about the ongoing pandemic but also because of persistent elbow issues.
He would not have been healthy enough to pitch at the start of the season and may not have pitched at all in 2020. Rather than pushing to return and being in a crowded clubhouse, McHugh can rest and rehab his elbow while social distancing at home and hope to return in 2021.
Call It Off
The Braves were reportedly on the verge of adding outfielder Yasiel Puig to their roster right before the start of the season. However, Puig tested positive for COVID-19, which means the deal is off.
Reportedly, the deal between Puig and the Braves was close but never official. Puig will remain a free agent, and his status for the 2020 season remains unclear, as he will have to recover from the virus and then look for a new home despite not being in camp with any team.
Some of the MLB players who have tested positive for COVID-19 are sharing the details of their experience fighting the virus. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman says his fever got as high as 104.5 degrees while also dealing with chills, body aches, and a temporary loss of his sense of smell and taste.
While Freeman says he’s been healthy and symptom-free for over a week, he recalls praying for his life at times.
Meanwhile, Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu said testing positive for COVID-19 was a “scary thing” despite not feeling any symptoms. He also had a frustrating experience of continuing to test positive despite having no symptoms, delaying his return to summer camp.
It’s still uncertain with LeMahieu will be on the active roster when the Yankees begin their season on Thursday.