Rangers “very encouraged” by Yu Darvish’s bullpen session

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Yu Darvish was scratched from his Opening Day start and placed on the disabled list with a strained neck, but the Rangers right-hander felt healthy enough to throw a bullpen session Sunday.

Manager Ron Washington told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that onlookers were “very encouraged” by how Darvish threw, but no decision has been made yet regarding a return timetable.

Because the disabled list stint was backdated Darvish is technically eligible to return on April 5, but because he hasn’t started a game since March 16 the Rangers may want to have him build up some arm strength before coming off the shelf.

Tanner Scheppers is starting in Darvish’s place for Game 1, making the first start of his big-league career on Opening Day.

MLB and MLBPA announce first set of COVID-19 test results

MLB COVID-19 test results
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.

There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.

Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.

Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.