Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays, like a lot of pitchers, is super frustrated by blisters. His teammate, Aaron Sanchez is on the disabled list because of them. Stroman himself had one form on his finger last night, in fact, that ended his night early, so he knows what he’s talking about and he’s understandably upset. When your hands and fingers are your living, you get really mad when something is wrong with them.
Stroman is a bit beyond the “this sucks” phase of blisters, however. He believes that there is an epidemic of them. And that Major League Baseball is to blame:
“I feel like it’s an epidemic that’s happening across the big leagues now, a bunch of pitchers getting blisters, guys who have never had blisters before. So for MLB to turn their back to it, I think that’s kind of crazy. I have no theory. But obviously, I mean, it’s not a coincidence that it’s happening to so many guys all of a sudden. It’s not a coincidence.”
Stroman says he doesn’t have a theory, but a reporter asked him if he thought the baseballs — which two recent studies found had lower seams than they used to have, thus leading to our current home run boom — were to blame. Stroman simply repeated “it’s not a coincidence.” Which suggests that, yeah, he thinks the ball is causing it. Stroman again:
“I’ve never had a blister ever in my life. Nothing even remotely close. It’s crazy. It’s extremely frustrating. Extremely frustrating.”
Don’t expect Major League Baseball to respond to Stroman on this. They seem to be pretty sensitive about anyone saying that the ball is different. So sensitive, in fact, that they’re spewing silliness in response to it.
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.