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Twins are aware of ‘several positive COVID-19 tests among their players’

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Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports that the Minnesota Twins “have been made aware of several positive COVID-19 tests among their players.” He says that none of the players was working out at Target Field or in Fort Myers, so these are presumably all tests from players who were scattered across the country and who will now be converging on Minneapolis. Or, assuming they’re quarantined, near Minneapolis.

Add this to the increasingly long list of teams with multiple positive COVID-19 tests among their players. I suspect that, before too long, every team will find themselves in a similar situation.

In light of these reports, it’s probably a good time to talk about how we are talking about them. Or how we will be talking about them as the 2020 baseball seen unfolds. I was inspired to think of this just a few minutes ago by Eireann Dolan, who many of you may know is married to Nationals’ closer Sean Doolittle. Dolan tweeted a number of thoughts about all of this that I think are worth bearing in mind:

The notion of “traps” we can fall into in discussing this stuff is key here. It could be really easy to filter these stories of players testing positive for COVID-19 the same way we would a hamstring injury or a pulled oblique. To give little thought to what the player or family of the player is going through and immediately autopilot to “what does this mean for the Dodgers rotation.” Or, perhaps, to use them as the launchpad for jokes that all of us fall back on at times. Things like the Yankees’ insane run of injuries in the past couple of seasons and say something like “oh look, the Yankees have ANOTHER player out of commission!” Or, if a Mets player tests positive, to say “actually, the Mets just thought he had a sore elbow but it was COVID.”

With baseball injuries that kind of thing is understandable even if there’s an argument to be made that it’s borderline distasteful. It’s a different deal altogether with COVID-19. It’s not a virus these players would inevitable get. Going forward the people inside the game who get it are likely going to be getting because of the decision to proceed with the 2020 season. It’s likewise not something that only affects them and it’s not something that only affects their ability to play baseball. It’s serious business for the player, for their families, for team employees and their families, and even if the cases are minor, symptoms-wise, it could potentially impact a lot of people’s health for years.

In light of that, treating COVID-19-related news as if it, primarily, impacts a baseball team and its competitive standing as opposed to human beings and their families is the wrong way to go. We’re going to try to do our best to properly contextualize that news and to not view it solely as a thing that matters only by virtue of how it impacts the sport. We hope you all do as well.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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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.