Associated Press

José Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player

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You may know that, after a 12-year absence, baseball is returning for the Olympics this summer. As part of that there will be some Olympic qualifiers played at the end of this month in Florida. Amateurs and players who are not on teams are obviously eligible to play. Likewise, players who are on 40-man rosters of big league teams but who are not on the major league roster are permitted to take part in the qualifiers.

Today Jeff Passan of ESPN has an article up about the Dominican Republic’s team as it heads into qualifiers. Among those players who are on the 40-man but not on a big league roster who plans to take part is Wander Franco, the top prospect in the Rays’ system and, indeed, in all of baseball. Not a shock, really. He’d be a great addition to the D.R.’s Olympic team.

A bit more surprising: José Bautista, who has not played in the bigs since 2018. Only a bit more surprising, though, as he can still probably hit pretty well against the lesser competition in the Olympic games (Major League players will not be taking part).  But here’s the real surprising part:

Bautista is expected to play first base, a position he manned 30 times in more than 1,650 major league games during which he hit 344 home runs and drove in nearly 1,000 runs. He last played in the major leagues in 2018, though he spent this winter working out as a pitcher in hopes of returning as a two-way player, sources said.

That seems pretty far-fetched, but on Twitter Passan added this:

“@STR0” is Marcus Stroman.

I doubt Bautista will actually make it to a big league roster, but given that rosters now allow for 26 players, and given that there are now special rules for two-way players, it’s not the most insane thing to contemplate. I bet teams will send some scouts to see him in the qualifier to see if the bat is anywhere close to serviceable anymore and, if it is, they may call him in for a bullpen session.

Doubleheader between Cardinals and Tigers postponed

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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A doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week is being postponed to allow more time for additional COVID-19 testing.

MLB opted to postpone Thursday’s doubleheader to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. More details about the Cardinals’ resumption of play will be announced later this week.

The Cardinals had a series against Pittsburgh set to start on Monday postponed after a weekend series against the Cubs was scrapped due to three positive coronavirus tests.

St. Louis had two more players and a staff member test positive for the virus on Friday and have had eight positive players overall, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

There have now been 29 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 15 games scrapped.

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

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