Kinda surprised at this: Marc Topkin reports that the Rays plan to name Asdrubal Cabrera their starting shortstop.
Cabrera finished 2014 with the Nationals, primarily as a second baseman. As he wound down seven-and-a-half seasons with the Indians, the thought was that he really didn’t play as a good defensive shortstop any longer, and it was expected that the Rays would use him at second just like the Nats did, with Nick Franklin or Tim Beckham playing short. That’s apparently out now, presumably because, according to the article, neither Franklin nor Beckham has impressed at short this spring and because Cabrera has made it clear he’s more comfortable there and Rays’ brass acknowledges that.
Also possibly playing into the mix, but not mentioned in the article: Cabrera is on a one-year deal and it’d be way better for the Rays — who I don’t think will contend — to feature him as a shortstop in the first half in an effort to draw some interest in him at the deadline in what will likely be a thin market for shortstops.
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.