Orioles activate J.J. Hardy from the disabled list; no more Manny Machado at shortstop?

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In a move that will presumably end Manny Machado‘s time as a starting shortstop–at least for a while–the Orioles have activated J.J. Hardy from the disabled list.

Hardy missed two-plus weeks with a strained groin and for the past week the Orioles have used Machado as his replacement several times, shifting the All-Star third baseman to shortstop for the first time in his MLB career.

Machado was once an elite shortstop prospect and only changed positions in the first place due to Hardy’s presence, so at age 24 there’s little doubt that he could handle the position now and perhaps even increase his already huge all-around value. However, with Hardy healthy now and signed through 2017 at big salaries Machado will shift back to third base full time down the stretch.

Hardy being traded during the offseason is possible, although he’s 32 years old and has a meager .638 OPS in 234 games dating back to the start of 2014. Owed more than $28 million in 2016/2017, he could be difficult to move even if Baltimore is convinced Machado at shortstop makes for a better team.

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.”