Jose Urena
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José Ureña to appeal six-game suspension for hitting Ronald Acuña

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Marlins right-hander José Ureña is planning to appeal his six-game suspension, the pitcher revealed Friday. Ureña was both suspended and fined after intentionally throwing at and hitting Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña with a 97.5-MPH fastball in the first inning of Wednesday’s 5-2 loss. The suspension won’t take effect until his appeal is heard and ruled on, and club manager Don Mattingly said he might still use the righty in Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals.

Bill has a full breakdown of the incident, along with a compelling case for making an example out of the 26-year-old in order to deter other pitchers from taking similarly violent measures in the future and perpetuating an irresponsible culture of revenge. While addressing the press on Friday, Ureña again insisted that the hit by pitch was unintentional, then followed up the non-apology with this statement (per MLB.com’s Kyle Melnick):

When people know me, the people know,” Ureña said. “I [am] competitive when I get out there. You feel like you go face somebody, be aggressive. Sometimes, you see people make comments when they don’t know [you].

According to Melnick, the right-hander currently leads all National League hurlers with 11 HBP in 2018. Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels holds the season record, with 15, followed by the Royals’ Jakob Junis (13), White Sox’ Lucas Giolito (13), and Astros’ Charlie Morton (12).

Acuña, meanwhile, was cleared to play on both Thursday and Friday after the CT scans on his left elbow came back clean and his X-rays returned negative. A quick return to full health doesn’t excuse Ureña’s actions, of course, and it’ll be interesting to see how the teams handle the aftermath of the hit by pitch when they face off against each other again on Thursday. It’s still possible that Ureña sustains his appeal through Wednesday, allowing him to pitch against the Nationals on Sunday or the Yankees on Tuesday or Wednesday, then drops the appeal in order to avoid next weekend’s series against the Braves.

Phillies COVID testing reports no new positives

Phillies COVID testing
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Phillies COVID testing results revealed no new positives for the fourth straight day, the team announced this morning. As a result, they will resume their schedule tonight against the Yankees.

It’ll be the first game for the Phillies since last Sunday’s game against the Marlins. The Miami outbreak prompted the Phillies’ season to be shut down, but the lack of positive tests beyond team staff that had more direct contact with the visiting Marlins is an encouraging sign. The Phillies COVID testing strongly suggests that cross-team infection from on-the-field activity is not a significant problem. This could bode well for, say, the Brewers, who have been idled a few days due to the outbreak emerging on their would-be opponents this past weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals.

All of this, of course, puts the Phillies well behind their usual schedule. They’ve played just three games and have had minimal baseball activity in the past eight days. Whether that shows up in the performances of Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola, tonight and tomorrow night’s starters, respectively, will be worth watching.

All in all, though, the Phillies COVID testing results are good news. And folks, we could use some good news right now.

UPDATE: The Marlins are negative too: