While camps are in full swing and games are just weeks away, the coronavirus pandemic continues to be the talk of the baseball world. Despite the agreement to resume play, there appears to be a lot of uncertainty with players like Sean Doolittle and Andrew Miller, among others, speaking up about some of their unease.
Still, the plan is to get games going by the end of the month. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the major stories around the league.
Update On Tanaka
On Saturday, Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees encountered every pitchers’ worst nightmare, a line drive back to the head. In a simulated game, Tanaka took a line drive from Giancarlo Stanton off the head, which forced the Yankees’ hurler to the hospital and into concussion protocol.
Luckily, it appears that Tanaka has avoided a significant injury. According to manager Aaron Boone, Tanka has been diagnosed with just a mild concussion, and there is hope that he may be ready for the start of the season.
Even if he is not, this is certainly a best-case scenario for something that could have been far more severe. Still, it is worth monitoring as sometimes concussions can have lingering effects, but for now, it appears that Tanaka and the Yankees have caught a break.
Tanaka is slated to be the number two pitcher for the Yankees behind recently acquired Gerrit Cole.
Phillies Keep Some Players Out Of Camp
In camps around Major League Baseball, players and coaches are having to grapple with the realities of the coronavirus pandemic. From players who have tested positive (like the Braves’ Freddie Freeman or the Royals’ Salvador Perez) to players who have opted out for the season (the Dodgers’ David Price and the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, among others), it is a reality that baseball is having to tackle.
For Philadelphia Phillies fans, their organization is not immune to the issues arising. According to Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, three players have been placed on the team’s coronavirus injured list, including Aaron Nola, Adam Haseley, and Christian Bethancourt.
Nola is the most notable of the three. The right-handed starter went 12-7 in 34 starts last season. In 202 1/3 innings pitched, he struck out 229 batters while maintaining a 3.87 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.
If the Phillies are to have success this season, Nola will likely be a major contributor in the rotation. According to FanDuel.com, the Phillies currently sit at +2500 to win the World Series this year, tied with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals.
With the likes of the Mets, Braves, and Nationals in their division, they are hoping that Nola will be able to bounce back and be a major contributor this season.
Manaea Could Wear A Mask During The Season
At ballparks across the country, teams are grappling with how to keep players safe. Many stars are wearing masks during their workouts in addition to social distancing and other safety protocols implemented by MLB.
For one Oakland A’s pitcher, he may be willing to take it to the next level. A’s lefty Sean Manaea is reportedly considering wearing a mask while he pitches during games.
In an interview with the media, he said he would “find a way to rock it” if necessary. Last season, with Oakland, Manaea battled injuries and pitched in just five games. In those games, though, he went 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA and struck out 30 over 29 2/3 innings.
Manaea could be a big bounceback candidate for Oakland atop their rotation, and it appears that he wants to keep his spot on the field at all costs, even if it means wearing a mask.