Chase Utley
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Dodgers release Chase Utley

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The Dodgers have officially granted an unconditional release to second baseman Chase Utley, according to an announcement made Friday. Utley is expected to formally retire during the offseason, bringing his storied 16-year career with the Phillies and Dodgers to a close.

The 39-year-old infielder capped his fourth campaign with the Dodgers in 2018, during which he managed a .213/.305/.305 batting line with just one home run and three stolen bases across 187 plate appearances. The downward slope of his career trajectory was hastened by several injuries — notably, a left thumb sprain and a bout of left wrist inflammation — and he finished the year with just 87 games under his belt, his lowest single-season total since 2012.

Despite the setbacks Utley weathered during his final season in the majors, he leaves behind a remarkable legacy as a prolific hitter and much-beloved personality. Between 2006 and 2010, he earned five straight All-Star nominations with Philadelphia and was awarded four Silver Sluggers in that span, to boot. Setting aside regular-season accolades, the hot-hitting infielder also hitched his wagon to six playoff-qualifying teams from 2007 to 2017 and helped carry the Phillies to a World Series victory (their first in nearly two decades) in 2008.

Utley originally announced his intent to retire back in July. At the time, he told reporters the decision was spurred by his desire to spend more time with his family. It’s not yet clear when his retirement will be made official or whether he intends to sign a one-day deal with the Phillies before hanging up his cleats for good.

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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