Benches clear between Cubs, Pirates after Joe Musgrove slides into Javier Báez

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Things have been tense during this series in Pittsburgh between the Cubs and Pirates. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took a lot of heat after he made a controversial slide into catcher Elias Diaz at home plate. The umpires ruled that Rizzo’s slide was clean, but the next day, Major League Baseball said that the slide was not, in fact, legal.

Tuesday’s game was uneventful, even though there were some hit batters. Nick Kingham hit Willson Contreras, Jon Lester hit Kingham, and Michael Feliz hit Contreras. There didn’t seem to be any malice behind any of those hit batters.

The two sides got feisty on Wednesday. In the bottom of the third inning, starter Joe Musgrove stood on first base after hitting a leadoff single. Josh Harrison then hit a grounder to third baseman Kris Bryant, who fired to Javier Báez at second base. Musgrove slid into second base and his momentum took him into Báez, who held onto the ball. Given Harrison’s speed, Báez almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to make the throw in time to complete the double play, but the slide made it impossible.

As Musgrove walked off the field, Báez had a few words for him. Musgrove turned back and then the benches and bullpens emptied onto the field. No punches were thrown and order was quickly restored. Musgrove’s slide was deemed legal.

Wednesday marks the end of the series between the two clubs, but they meet again for a three-game set in Chicago June 8-10. It will be interesting to see if the bad blood carries over a week and a half.

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.”