Mike Rizzo Rob Manfred
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Rob Manfred thinks Mike Rizzo was insubordinate with comments

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The Nationals canceled Monday’s workout because the club hadn’t received Friday’s intake testing results back, despite MLB promising 24-hour turnaround time. Major League Baseball issued a weak statement on the matter later in the afternoon, attributing the delays to the holiday weekend.

After canceling Monday’s workout, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said, “We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff, and their families. Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”

Per Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred considered Rizzo’s statement to be insubordination. The anonymous source Svrluga quoted said, “The commissioner jumped on him for that.”

Rizzo isn’t the only member of the Nationals to criticize MLB’s testing implementation. Reliever Sean Doolittle pointed out yesterday that the Nationals haven’t been given the personal protective equipment (e.g. masks, gloves) they were promised. In a short thread on Twitter, Doolittle wrote, “We need help to make this work. Faster test results, PPE for high risk individuals and players/staff with high risk family members. The individual efforts have been great so far but we can’t rely solely on individuals. The efforts have to be structural as well.”

A lot needs to go right in order for there to be a 2020 season. The players need to be diligent about wearing masks, washing their hands, and limiting their socializing. Teams need to push a cohesive directive to follow health guidelines. MLB’s job is to distribute PPE, implement testing, and consistently get results back to teams as promised so there are no interruptions in the players’ ability to prepare for the season. So far, the teams and players have been holding up their end of the bargain but the league hasn’t been holding up theirs.

Earlier, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Athletics reliever Jake Diekman also expressed concern. Per The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, Bryant said, “I wanted to play this year because I felt that it would be safe and I would feel comfortable. But honestly I don’t really feel that way, which is why I’m trying to keep my distance from everybody and wear my mask, just so that we can get this thing going.” And per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Diekman said, “I feel like deep down, every player has it in the back of their mind that this is all going to fall apart.”

MLB’s slipshod job to start training camp risks losing the confidence of the players, coaches, and all other staff to effectively carry out the season. It has a little over two weeks to get things right before the start of the regular season.

Cole Hamels done for year after just 1 start for Braves

Cole Hamels triceps injury
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ATLANTA — After making just one start for the Atlanta Braves, Cole Hamels is done for the season.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

The Braves placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 18,, but that was a mere formality. General manager Alex Anthopoulos already contacted Major League Baseball about replacing Hamels in the team’s postseason player pool.

“Cole knows himself and his body,” Anthopoulos said. “You trust the player at that point when he says he can’t go.”

The Braves began Monday with a three-game lead in the NL East .and primed for their third straight division title.

Even with that success, Atlanta has struggled throughout the shortened 60-game series to put together a consistent rotation beyond Cy Young contender Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson.

Expected ace Mike Soroka went down with a season-ending injury, former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was demoted after just one start, and Sean Newcomb also was sent to the alternate training site after getting hammered in his four starts.

The Braves have used 12 starters this season.

Anthopoulos had hoped to land another top starter at the trade deadline but the only deal he was able to make was acquiring journeyman Tommy Milone from the Orioles. He’s on the injured list after getting hammered in three starts for the Braves, giving up 22 hits and 16 runs in just 9 2/3 innings.

“There’s no doubt that our starting pitching has not performed to the level we wanted it to or expected it to,” Anthopoulos said. “I know that each year you never have all parts of your club firing. That’s why depth is so important.”

Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year contract last December, reported for spring training with a sore shoulder stemming from an offseason workout.

When camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamels was able to take a more cautious approach to his rehabilitation. But a triceps issue sidelined again before the delayed start of the season in July.

The Braves hoped Hamels would return in time to provide a boost for the playoffs. He also was scheduled to start the final game of the regular season Sunday, putting him in position to join the postseason rotation behind Fried and Anderson.

Now, Hamels is done for the year, his Braves’ career possibly ending after he made that one appearance last week in Baltimore. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in a loss to the Orioles.

Hamels reported no problems immediately after his start, but he didn’t feel right after a bullpen session a couple of days ago.

“You’re not going to try to talk the player into it,” Anthopoulos said. “When he says he isn’t right, that’s all we need to hear.”

Atlanta recalled right-hander Bryse Wilson to replace Hamels on the 28-man roster. The Braves did not immediately name a starter for Tuesday’s game.

With Hamels out, the Braves will apparently go with Fried (7-0, 1.96), Anderson (3-1, 2.36) and Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.74) as their top three postseason starters.

Hamels is a four-time All-Star with a career record of 163-122. He starred on Philadelphia’s World Series-winning team in 2008 and also pitched for Texas and the Chicago Cubs.

Last season, Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs.