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.
MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.
The entire camp was placed in quarantine.
“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”
Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.
The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.
“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”