Didi Gregorius
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Video: Yankees pull ahead with Didi Gregorius grand slam


Game 2 of the American League Division Series got off to a rousing start on Saturday. Edwin Encarnación drove an RBI single to put the Yankees on the board in the first inning, and Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres combined for another two runs off of Twins’ starter Randy Dobnak in the third. The real powerhouse play, however, came later that inning.

The Twins lifted Dobnak for Tyler Duffey as things started to go south, and by the time Didi Gregorius stepped to the plate, the bases were loaded with just one out. Gregorius worked a 1-2 count against the right-handed reliever, then plucked a 94-m.p.h. fastball from the top of the strike zone and sent it zipping back out past the right field foul pole for a grand slam.

The timing couldn’t have been better. It was Gregorius’ third grand slam of the year and first in the postseason, making him the first Yankees player with a playoff slam since Robinson Canó in 2011.

The Yankees currently lead the Twins 8-1 in the fourth.

Report: Some MLB teams using outside labs for COVID-19 testing

MLB COVID-19 testing
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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.

The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.

In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.

The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.

We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.