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Twins will not allow two of their coaches in the dugout this year

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One of the primary topics of conversation about baseball in the era of COVID-19 has been about the dangers presented to older coaches, trainers and team staff. The first decision impacting some of those has been made, with the Twins deciding that two of their coaches will not be allowed in the dugout this season.

LaVelle Neal of the Star-Tribune reports that bullpen coach Bob McClure, 68, and coach Bill Evers, 66, will not be allowed to work games. Minor league pitching coordinator Pete Maki will take over as bullpen coach. Evers’ replacement will be named soon. Both McClure and Evers will continue to be paid and will likely serve in some sort of advisory capacity.

In making the decision, the Twins cited McClure and Evers’ age and health histories, though they did not specify what particular risk factors beyond age factors. There are several managers and coaches over 60 years-old in Major League Baseball, obviously. Some over 70. Obviously many have adverse medical histories.

Figure that more teams will follow the Twins’ lead here.

Baseball seeking a second lab for MLB COVID-19 tests

MLB COVID-19 tests
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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported last night that Major League Baseball is “actively pursuing an additional medical lab site to increase the speed and efficiency” of MLB COVID-19 tests.

The current setup — as planned by MLB and approved by the MLBPA as a part of the plan to play the 2020 season — is for all MLB COVID-19 tests to be sent to and processed by MLB’s PED testing lab in Salt Lake City, Utah. As you likely heard, there have been delays in the administration of COVID-19 tests and in the shipping of tests to Utah, but to date no one has reported that the lab itself has not been able to handle the tests once they’ve arrived there. If MLB is looking for a second lab site a week into this process, it suggests that their plans for the Utah lab might not be working the way they had anticipated.

The issues with testing have created unease around the game in recent days, with some players and team executives speaking out against Major League Baseball’s handling of the plan in the early going. Commissioner Rob Manfred, meanwhile, has responded defensively to the criticism.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported this morning that, months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States still lacks testing capacity. From the report:

Lines for coronavirus tests have stretched around city blocks and tests ran out altogether in at least one site on Monday, new evidence that the country is still struggling to create a sufficient testing system months into its battle with Covid-19 . . .“It’s terrifying, and clearly an evidence of a failure of the system,” said Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital . . . in recent weeks, as cases have surged in many states, the demand for testing has soared, surpassing capacity and creating a new testing crisis.

It’s less than obvious, to say the least, how Major League Baseball plans to expand capacity for MLB COVID-19 tests while America as a whole is experiencing “a new testing crisis” and a “failure of the system.” At the very least it’s less than obvious how, even if Major League Baseball can do so, it can do so ethically.