Joe Kelly expected to be activated from disabled list Friday

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Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly hasn’t pitched in the majors since April 16 due to a severe strain of his left hamstring, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the plan calls for him to be activated to start Friday against the Brewers.

Kelly allowed one run over 4 1/3 innings for Triple-A Memphis yesterday and owns a 2.61 ERA and 4/6 K/BB ratio in 10 1/3 innings through three minor league rehab starts. The original expectation was that he would make one more start in the minors before being activated, but it turns out that he’ll replace the recently-optioned Marco Gonzalez in the rotation. Tyler Lyons, who was called up to take Gonzalez’s spot on the roster, will pitch out of the bullpen.

Kelly won the fifth starter job over Carlos Martinez out of spring training and posted a 0.59 ERA over his first three starts in April before the hamstring strain. Because of injuries to Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, now Kelly and Martinez will both have spots in the rotation.

Baseball seeking a second lab for MLB COVID-19 tests

MLB COVID-19 tests
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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported last night that Major League Baseball is “actively pursuing an additional medical lab site to increase the speed and efficiency” of MLB COVID-19 tests.

The current setup — as planned by MLB and approved by the MLBPA as a part of the plan to play the 2020 season — is for all MLB COVID-19 tests to be sent to and processed by MLB’s PED testing lab in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you likely heard, there have been delays in the administration of COVID-19 tests and in the shipping of tests to Utah, but to date no one has reported that the lab itself has not been able to handle the tests once they’ve arrived there. If MLB is looking for a second lab site a week into this process, it suggests that their plans for the Utah lab might not be working the way they had anticipated.

The issues with testing have created unease around the game in recent days, with some players and team executives speaking out against Major League Baseball’s handling of the plan in the early going. Commissioner Rob Manfred, meanwhile, has responded defensively to the criticism.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported this morning that, months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States still lacks testing capacity. From the report:

Lines for coronavirus tests have stretched around city blocks and tests ran out altogether in at least one site on Monday, new evidence that the country is still struggling to create a sufficient testing system months into its battle with Covid-19 . . .“It’s terrifying, and clearly an evidence of a failure of the system,” said Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital . . . in recent weeks, as cases have surged in many states, the demand for testing has soared, surpassing capacity and creating a new testing crisis.

It’s less than obvious, to say the least, how Major League Baseball plans to expand capacity for MLB COVID-19 tests while America as a whole is experiencing “a new testing crisis” and a “failure of the system.” At the very least it’s less than obvious how, even if Major League Baseball can do so, it can do so ethically.