Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports that “multiple BlueJays players and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.”
Davidi says that the tests are related to the shutdown of the Jays’ spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida last week. Which may, in turn, be connected to the Phillies’ multiple positive tests as there have been reports that people from the two nearby facilities were socializing.
Regardless of the source, though, the problem is a significant one. As Davidi notes, the Jays are in a somewhat different situation than the U.S.-based teams in that it is not clear whether they will be allowed to use their home park, Rogers Centre, for spring training or the regular season. They had hoped to have Dunedin as a potential fallback option, but given that it’s in a state that is experiencing a COVID-19 spike and given that the facility itself is the locus of multiple positive tests, that plan seems less-than-ideal.
Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.
The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”
Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.
Now, however, Kopech has opted out.