Daniel Robertson
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Daniel Robertson likely out for season

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Rays second baseman Daniel Robertson is unlikely to finish out the 2018 season, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain reported Sunday. Robertson was assigned to the 10-day disabled list on Saturday with a left thumb sprain after sliding headfirst into second base during Friday’s 2-3 loss to the White Sox, and it looks like he’ll require surgery — and a six to eight-week healing period — to repair the injury before making it back to the field.

The 24-year-old infielder has put up career-best numbers this season; through Friday, he slashed .262/.382/.415 with nine home runs, a .797 OPs and 2.6 fWAR in 340 plate appearances. This appears to be the first significant setback of his career to date, and there’s little reason to believe he won’t be ready to go by the start of spring training in 2019. Making a comeback this season — especially with the Rays a full 21.5 games back in the AL East — seems highly unlikely, however. As club manager Kevin Cash told reporters, “We probably knew that surgery, or no surgery, he was going to miss most of the [remainder of the] season, if not all of it.”

For now, the Rays still have a couple of viable second basemen in Joey Wendle, who covered for Robertson during Saturday’s 2-1 loss, and recent call-up Brandon Lowe, who tore through Double- and Triple-A but has yet to make his major-league debut this season.

Baseball seeking a second lab for MLB COVID-19 tests

MLB COVID-19 tests
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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported last night that Major League Baseball is “actively pursuing an additional medical lab site to increase the speed and efficiency” of MLB COVID-19 tests.

The current setup — as planned by MLB and approved by the MLBPA as a part of the plan to play the 2020 season — is for all MLB COVID-19 tests to be sent to and processed by MLB’s PED testing lab in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you likely heard, there have been delays in the administration of COVID-19 tests and in the shipping of tests to Utah, but to date no one has reported that the lab itself has not been able to handle the tests once they’ve arrived there. If MLB is looking for a second lab site a week into this process, it suggests that their plans for the Utah lab might not be working the way they had anticipated.

The issues with testing have created unease around the game in recent days, with some players and team executives speaking out against Major League Baseball’s handling of the plan in the early going. Commissioner Rob Manfred, meanwhile, has responded defensively to the criticism.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported this morning that, months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States still lacks testing capacity. From the report:

Lines for coronavirus tests have stretched around city blocks and tests ran out altogether in at least one site on Monday, new evidence that the country is still struggling to create a sufficient testing system months into its battle with Covid-19 . . .“It’s terrifying, and clearly an evidence of a failure of the system,” said Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital . . . in recent weeks, as cases have surged in many states, the demand for testing has soared, surpassing capacity and creating a new testing crisis.

It’s less than obvious, to say the least, how Major League Baseball plans to expand capacity for MLB COVID-19 tests while America as a whole is experiencing “a new testing crisis” and a “failure of the system.” At the very least it’s less than obvious how, even if Major League Baseball can do so, it can do so ethically.