Yankees reliever Dellin Betances suffered another setback while pitching in a simulated game on Thursday. According to comments from manager Aaron Boone, he’ll undergo another MRI as the club tries to determine if the right-hander sustained additional damage to his shoulder. A firm timeline has not been announced for his return to the team this season.
Betances, 31, said he “just didn’t feel right” during Thursday’s game, though it’s still unclear what specific pain he might be dealing with. He was diagnosed with a right shoulder impingement in mid-March and has yet to pitch in an official game this season.
Last year, the veteran reliever picked up four saves and a 4-6 record in 66 appearances for the club, with a solid 2.70 ERA, 15.5 SO/9, 3.5 BB/9, and 1.7 fWAR across 66 2/3 innings. He’s dealt with shoulder issues on and off throughout his seven-year career in the majors, but this appears to be the first serious setback he’s seen since 2012. Without him, the Yankees’ bullpen is still holding together; per FanGraphs, they currently rank third-best in the league with a collective 3.97 ERA and 1.0 fWAR across their first dozen games of 2019.
Update: Per Brian Cashman, Betances has a bone spur in his shoulder and will receive a cortisone shot on Saturday. He’s expected to refrain from all pitching activity for three weeks. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that the righty’s recovery timetable has been pushed to 6-7 weeks.
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.