Report: Brad Ausmus to be fired at season’s end

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Big news out of Detroit: Brad Ausmus will be fired at the end of the regular season.

The Detroit Free Press reported this morning that team owner Mike Ilitch intends to fire Ausmus after this season ends. They further report that Illitch and others in the organization have been displeased with Ausmus for some time but that former team president Dave Dombrowski “fought off” their criticism and protected Ausmus. Dombrowski is now the Red Sox team president, having been dismissed by Illitch earlier this season.

The Tigers are in last place in the American League’s Central Division with a 64-76 record in 2015. Overall, he has a 154-148 record in his just under two seasons as Tigers’ manager. The Tigers won the Central last year. Ausmus is under contract with the Tigers through the 2016 season with a team option for 2017.

This is Ausmus’ first-ever managerial job. He is part of a trend of several recent managerial hires of former players with little or no big league coaching or managing experience, including Mike Matheny in St. Louis, Robin Ventura in Chicago, Walt Weiss in Colorado, and Mike Redmond in Miami. Redmond’s replacement — Dan Jennings — upped the ante in that he had no coaching, managing or playing experience. The idea behind the trend: a manager is thought of by many as being merely the conduit through which front office decisions and strategies are to be communicated. Whether this is a good idea is open for serious debate. There can be no debate, however, that when the executive who put such a beast in place is gone, part of that equation is no loner operative.

In any event, Ausmus — considered by experts in the field to be baseball’s most handsome manager — played for the Tigers on two occasions in his career and was traded away twice, so he has some experience in leaving Detroit. As he is widely respected for his intelligence and work ethic, I would expect that he will have no trouble landing another job, either as a front office assistant or on a major league coaching staff.

Happy trails, Brad.

MLB and MLBPA announce first set of COVID-19 test results

MLB COVID-19 test results
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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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.