Back in late September, Yankees starter CC Sabathia was thought to have cost himself a $500,000 bonus by intentionally throwing a pitch at Rays catcher Jesús Sucre. Sabathia was ejected from the game in the sixth inning. The lefty was apparently sticking up for teammate Austin Romine, who had been thrown at earlier in the game.
Sabathia, who has made over $252 million over the course of his 18-year career, had no qualms about the sacrifice and ultimately served a five-game suspension. That start against the Rays was his last of the season. He officially finished with 153 innings, two innings shy of the 155-inning threshold to earn his $500,000 bonus.
The Yankees decided to give Sabathia his bonus anyway, Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reports. Sabathia’s agent, Kyle Thousand of Roc Nation Sports, said, “We thought it was a very nice gesture by the Yankees. CC was very appreciative and is really excited to come back next year and, hopefully, win a championship.”
Neither the Yankees nor Sabathia chose to publicize the matter. GM Brian Cashman said, “It was something that we did very private and weren’t looking to publicize, and I’ll just leave it at that.”
The Yankees and Sabathia, now 38 years old, agreed in November to a one-year, $8 million contract for the 2019 season. Sabathia has pitched for the Yankees since 2009, going 129-80 with a 3.74 ERA and a 1,593/537 K/BB ratio in 1,810 2/3 innings.
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.