Matt Cain throws 55 pitches in first minor league rehab start

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Giants right-hander Matt Cain made his first minor-league rehab start Tuesday, throwing 3.2 innings at Double-A as he comes back from a strained flexor tendon and surgery to remove bone ships from his elbow that have sidelined him since July of last year.

Cain allowed two runs on three hits in 3.2 innings, striking out two, walking two, and throwing 55 pitches. He’s aiming to come off the disabled list in early July, presumably bumping Ryan Vogelsong from a deep Giants rotation that just saw rookie Chris Heston throw a no-hitter Tuesday night.

Cain posted 2.93 ERA in 131 starts from 2009-2012, throwing 200-plus innings every season, but he had a 4.00 ERA in 184 innings two years ago and last year was shut down after just 15 starts with a 4.18 ERA. He’s making $21 million this season and under contract for the same salary in 2016 and 2017.

Baseball seeking a second lab for MLB COVID-19 tests

MLB COVID-19 tests
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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.