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Alex Verdugo could miss the start of the season

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The Mookie Betts trade is already a pretty tough pill for a lot of Red Sox fans to swallow. It’s about to get even tougher, however, as the most notable piece of that trade coming back to Boston, Alex Verdugo, is likely to miss the start of the season.

That’s the word from Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, who reported yesterday that Verdugo has a bad back. It’s apparently a continuation of the oblique and back issues which caused him to miss the final two months of the 2019 season for the Dodgers. The Red Sox, Speier, reports, were aware of the lingering issues while negotiating the trade and do not believe them to be serious or long-term problems, but it’s not the sort of thing that’s gonna make your average Sox fan feel so much better about the trade.

Verdugo, 23, got his first extended stint in the majors last year and hit .294/.342/.475 with 12 homers, 44 RBI, and 43 runs scored in 377 plate appearances. His presumed absence to start the season is likely at least part of the reason the Sox went out and signed free agent Kevin Pillar to a one-year $4 million deal yesterday. Pillar, a defensive whiz, hit .259/.287/.432 with 21 homers and 14 steals over 161 games between the Blue Jays and Giants last year.

Phillies COVID testing reports no new positives

Phillies COVID testing
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Phillies COVID testing results revealed no new positives for the fourth straight day, the team announced this morning. As a result, they will resume their schedule tonight against the Yankees.

It’ll be the first game for the Phillies since last Sunday’s game against the Marlins. The Miami outbreak prompted the Phillies’ season to be shut down, but the lack of positive tests beyond team staff that had more direct contact with the visiting Marlins is an encouraging sign. The Phillies COVID testing strongly suggests that cross-team infection from on-the-field activity is not a significant problem. This could bode well for, say, the Brewers, who have been idled a few days due to the outbreak emerging on their would-be opponents this past weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals.

All of this, of course, puts the Phillies well behind their usual schedule. They’ve played just three games and have had minimal baseball activity in the past eight days. Whether that shows up in the performances of Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola, tonight and tomorrow night’s starters, respectively, will be worth watching.

All in all, though, the Phillies COVID testing results are good news. And folks, we could use some good news right now.

UPDATE: The Marlins are negative too: