Tommy La Stella has failed to report to Triple-A for 11 days

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Tommy La Stella was demoted to Triple-A by the Cubs on July 29. It was a roster crunch situation and La Stella has options left so, despite the fact that he has been an effective player this year, it made sense to send him down. Sorry, baseball is not a pure meritocracy. Sometimes the politics of contracts, options and service time play into such decisions.

At the time, Joe Maddon mentioned to the media that La Stella didn’t take the demotion well. It’s a bit unusual to hear that said publicly, but it’s understandable that a guy who has spent his whole life trying to make the big leagues doesn’t like it when he’s asked to leave. Indeed, you probably want guys to be at least a bit miffed when they get sent down and you hope they use it as motivation to work hard and get back up.

La Stella, however, is still taking it hard. Players have 72 hours to report to the minors when so designated. La Stella has not reported to Des Moines going on 11 days now. He’s back home in New Jersey, still working out and talking to Cubs on a regular basis, but he’s not reporting to Triple-A.

This, obviously, is a problem. The Cubs can’t just bring him back to Chicago, even if a space opens up tomorrow, because to do so would create a super bad precedent and essentially reward his insubordination. The longer he doesn’t report to Triple-A, however, the more angry and less understanding the Cubs will get. And justifiably so. No matter how nice everyone is being here, this is a temper tantrum, make no mistake about it.

La Stella has hit .295/.388/.457 and has hit eight homers in 51 games this season. That’s useful. So useful in fact that, at some point, it would’ve made a lot of sense to bring him back to Chicago before the season is out and maybe, if things break just right, have him on the postseason roster. But La Stella’s behavior has made that an increasingly unlikely possibility.

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.”