With a 19-4 record since late July the Cubs are surging, but now they’ve lost a pair of key players to the disabled list in right fielder Jorge Soler and reliever Jason Motte.
Soler has a strained oblique muscle, which figures to sideline him until at least mid-September and could knock him out for the remainder of the regular season. He’s had a disappointing season relative to his excellent 24-game debut last year, hitting .265 with seven homers and a .710 OPS in 90 games. Expect to see Chris Coghlan shift back to the outfield, with Starlin Castro and Tommy La Stella playing second base.
Motte has a strained shoulder, which is expected to keep him out for at least 3-4 weeks. Thanks to injuries Motte is a shell of his former bat-missing self, striking out just 34 hitters in 48 innings, but he has a 3.91 ERA in 57 appearances and has worked a lot of high-leverage spots for the Cubs.
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.