Rangers promote top 1B prospect Justin Smoak

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smoak batting.JPGMLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers have promoted first base prospect Justin Smoak (pictured right) from Triple-A Oklahoma City and demoted struggling first baseman Chris Davis in a corresponding move.

Smoak will take over starting first base duties for the Rangers and could hang onto the gig for a long while if he performs as expected.  The 23-year-old was off to a superb start at Triple-A this year, with a .326/.500/.587 batting line and two home runs over 62 plate appearances.  He has serious, serious upside and Rangers fans have been clamoring for his promotion for at least the last two weeks.

Davis, 24, had been batting just .188 with a 556 OPS in 48 at-bats.  He may need to find another organization in order to continue his major league career, but will first need to prove his worth with a nice stretch of production for Oklahoma City.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”