While veteran reliever Joel Hanrahan is headed to see a specialist about his continued arm soreness, today was mostly a positive day for the Tigers on the health front.
According to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Miguel Cabrera took on-field batting practice today for the first time this spring and said it felt “good.” Of course, he’s making his way back from offseason surgery on his left foot and just received clearance to increase activities less than two weeks ago. He’s still running on an anti-gravity treadmill, but the early signs are promising. The Tigers are hopeful he’ll be ready for Opening Day or at least right around it.
The good news doesn’t end there, as Victor Martinez arrived in camp today and did his first workout. Specifically, he took 30 swings off a tee from both sides of the plate and also ran on the anti-gravity treadmill. The 36-year-old had surgery less than one month ago to repair the medial meniscus in his left knee, but the expectation was that he would be ready for full activities in 4-6 weeks. Barring any setbacks, that puts him on track to be ready for the season.
Finally, shortstop Jose Iglesias saw his first game action in a year today when he played one inning in an exhibition game against Florida Southern. It wasn’t much — he recorded one put-out on a pop-up and grounded out in his only at-bat — but it’s nice to hear for someone who missed all of last season with stress fractures in both of his shins. Iglesias is a ton of fun to watch play shortstop and Tigers pitchers are surely hoping he’ll be able to stay healthy this year.
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.