Addison Russell is doing something in his debut that hasn’t happened since 1998

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Cubs prospect Addison Russell is making his MLB debut tonight against the Pirates and he’s doing so batting ninth, because manager Joe Maddon has been using the pitcher in the eighth spot.

I wondered who the last position player to make his debut batting ninth for a National League team was and … well, it hasn’t happened for a while. There are a handful of instances where it happened in an interleague game played by AL rules, but obviously that’s a totally different story.

The last (and only) NL position player to make his MLB debut batting ninth in an NL game was Mark Little of the Cardinals way back in 1998. Tony La Russa was the Cardinals’ manager then and, like Maddon, he sometimes believed in batting the pitcher eighth.

On a related note: Everyone should subscribe to the Baseball-Reference.com “Play Index” so you can also look up random, weird stuff like this.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”