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Multiple Rangers employees test positive for COVID-19, are ‘terrified’ for their safety

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As COVID-19 cases spike to record highs in Texas, Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that multiple Texas Rangers employees have tested positive. He reports that these positive tests have come around ten days after the Rangers began urging employees to come in to work at Globe Life Field rather than work remotely. An urging that in some cases amounted to a requirement, with some employees being told it was not optional:

While there was never an explicit mandate, multiple employees told ESPN their managers said working from home was not an option. Exceptions were made for some employees . . . “We are terrified for our safety,” said one employee who works for the team and requested anonymity out of fear of repercussions by the organization. “Terrified to share COVID-19, unknowingly, with an older employee, a pregnant co-worker or anyone else who may have some sort of underlying condition. We all knew it would come to this. It was only a matter of time.”

The Rangers have issued a statement saying that they are following cleaning and sanitizing protocols and that they will not allow employees back into the office unless they test negative for COVID-19, but they have not yet changed their work-from-home policy, which requires special approval. Passan notes that the Rangers’ reopening of the office is “accelerated” compared to most other major league clubs.

The story goes on to mention that many Rangers employees are not wearing masks at work concerning other employees. Likewise, many were alarmed by a team-affiliated doctor who told employees in a Zoom meeting that employees were likelier to be infected by the coronavirus at home than at work.  Meanwhile, the Rangers have held multiple events at Globe Life Field including high school graduations.

On Thursday, Texas saw a record-high number of positive COVID-19 cases, spiking to 5,996 on that day alone. Yesterday the number was 5,707. Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has removed mayors’ abilities to enact enforceable stay-home orders, has banned local jurisdictions from requiring masks, and is unwilling to enact any such orders on the state level. He did, however, issue an order shutting bars back down on Friday, and scaled back restaurant capacity to 50% in response to the massive outbreak which has gripped the state.

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.