Astros plan to remove Tal’s Hill from outfield, move fences in for 2016 as part of $15 million renovation

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Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that the Astros are planning a $15 million renovation to Minute Maid Park for 2016 that includes removing Tal’s Hill from the outfield and moving in the center field fence from 436 feet to 409 feet.

Astros owner Jim Crane indicated that the team wanted to use the extra space in center field to add concession stands and spots where fans can watch the game from the concourse.

Tal’s Hill, some people love it, some people hate it. We just thought it would be a better ballpark by moving that in. It will still be a very deep center field. There’s always been concern with the flag poles in play and danger in that and also the injuries going up the Hill, so we think this would be better for the players, utilize the space better and be a very pretty ballpark.

I’m generally in favor of ballparks having quirks, but a literal hill in center field always seemed to take that a bit too far and it created a lot more potential for weird plays and injuries than any sort of beautification or character.

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.”