Brett Cecil has made just one appearance since being named Toronto’s closer, but that was enough to convince the Blue Jays that he’s not the right man for the job.
Cecil has been stripped of ninth-inning duties after a blown save Thursday against the Yankees in which he retired just one of the four batters he faced while throwing in the high-80s. Cecil had an abbreviated spring training thanks to shoulder issues and manager John Gibbons told reporters that the left-hander “is not sharp.”
Cecil was one of the AL’s best relievers in 2013 and 2014, throwing a combined 114 innings with a 2.76 ERA and 146/50 K/BB ratio, but if he’s not fully healthy there’s no reason to keep trotting him out there in a high-leverage role. Gibbons declined to name a full-time closer replacement, but 20-year-old Miguel Castro may get the first crack at the job despite making the jump from Single-A to the majors.
Phillies COVID testing results revealed no new positives for the fourth straight day, the team announced this morning. As a result, they will resume their schedule tonight against the Yankees.
It’ll be the first game for the Phillies since last Sunday’s game against the Marlins. The Miami outbreak prompted the Phillies’ season to be shut down, but the lack of positive tests beyond team staff that had more direct contact with the visiting Marlins is an encouraging sign. The Phillies COVID testing strongly suggests that cross-team infection from on-the-field activity is not a significant problem. This could bode well for, say, the Brewers, who have been idled a few days due to the outbreak emerging on their would-be opponents this past weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals.
All of this, of course, puts the Phillies well behind their usual schedule. They’ve played just three games and have had minimal baseball activity in the past eight days. Whether that shows up in the performances of Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola, tonight and tomorrow night’s starters, respectively, will be worth watching.
All in all, though, the Phillies COVID testing results are good news. And folks, we could use some good news right now.
UPDATE: The Marlins are negative too: