Tempers flared in the second inning of Friday’s Marlins-Braves opener when Atlanta right-hander Kevin Gausman lobbed a 97.1-m.p.h. fastball behind Miami starter José Ureña. While the ball didn’t make contact with Ureña, the intent behind the pitch was enough to get Gausman ejected by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson.
The brush-off pitch appeared to be an attempted retribution for the hit-by-pitch Ureña delivered to Ronald Acuña Jr. last summer. Acuña was plunked on the elbow during his first at-bat of the game and, crucially, in the middle of his ongoing home run streak as well. It elicited no shortage of strong emotions from players and fans alike, and both Ureña and Braves manager Brian Snitker were ejected in the aftermath.
No one rushed to Ureña’s defense on Friday (though Snitker was again ejected after defending Gausman), but he remained in the game and took first base on a four-pitch walk from Touki Toussaint. On the mound, he tossed six innings of five-run, three-walk, four-strikeout ball, and gave up two home runs to Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann in the first and sixth, respectively.
The Braves currently lead the Marlins 5-2 in the seventh. No official statement has been issued by either Gausman or the Braves regarding the incident.
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.