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Phillies acquire RHP Pat Neshek from Astros

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The Astros dealt right-handed reliever Pat Neshek to the Astros on Friday afternoon, per a report from Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan. The Phillies will pick up Neshek’s $6.5 million club option in 2017, while the Astros will receive cash or a player to be named later.

Neshek improved in his second season with the Astros, producing a 3.06 ERA and 3.91 K/BB rate over 47 innings in 2016. His Achilles’ heel looks like a prototypical left-handed hitter, as he faced lefties in just 12 1/3 innings with an inflated batting line of .240/.321/.646. With his loss, the Astros could fill the gap in their bullpen with one of several internal options, including left-hander Kevin Chapman and right-handers Brad Peacock, Brady Rodgers, and James Hoyt, though outside options have not been explicitly ruled out.

The Phillies, meanwhile, will deepen their reserve of relief arms with Neshek as they work on rebuilding for 2017. The veteran righty’s side-winding delivery makes him most effective against right-handed batters, and while he appeared to peak with the Cardinals in 2014 (1.87 ERA and 0.78 WHIP in 67 1/3 innings), he looks to be a decent and affordable option for the club.

Cards’ Yadier Molina says he tested positive for COVID-19

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St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina says he’s one of the players on the team who tested positive for COVID-19.

The nine-time All-Star revealed his results Tuesday in a Spanish-language Instagram post. Soon afterward, the Cardinals issued a release naming six of the players who have tested positive.

The others are infielders Paul DeJong, Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo along with pitchers Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley.

“I am saddened to have tested positive for COVID-19, even after adhering to safety guidelines that were put in place,” Molina said in a release issued by the team. “I will do everything within my power to return as soon as possible for Cardinals fans, the city of St. Louis and my teammates.”

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Monday that seven players and six staff members had tested positive. At the time, Mozeliak said the people to test positive hadn’t been identified publicly because they had declined to have their names released.

The Cardinals said Tuesday that six players had decided to grant permission to have their names revealed.

“I will approach my healing as I do all other things in my life – with education, commitment, and persistence. I look forward to re-joining the team soon and ask that you respect my privacy at this time,” DeJong said in a statement released by the team.

The outbreak resulted in the postponement of the Cardinals’ scheduled three-game weekend series at Milwaukee as well as a four-game series with Detroit that was supposed to run Monday through Thursday. The Cardinals have played just five games this season and are hoping to return to action Friday hosting the Chicago Cubs.

As of now, the Cardinals who have tested positive have returned home while the rest of the team remains isolated in Milwaukee hotel rooms. Their last game was July 29 at Minnesota.

Mozeliak said Monday that five of the 13 overall members of the Cardinals’ traveling party to test positive were asymptomatic. The other eight had minor symptoms including headaches, coughs, sniffles and low-grade fevers. Mozeliak said none of the eight had required hospitalization.

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