Joe West is not opting out of the 2020 season

Joe West Coronavirus
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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic spoke to everyone’s favorite umpire, Joe West. He reports that even though West is considered high-risk for COVID-19, and even though he has the right to opt-out with full pay because of it, West is not opting out of the 2020 season.

West, who is 67 years-old, has a history of high blood pressure, and who is overweight, tells Rosenthal that Major League Baseball expected him to opt-out and was “taken aback” and “shocked” when he told them that he would not do so.

Partially it’s because he wants to set the all-time record for games worked. He’s 65 games of Bill Klem’s record and, if he works 2020, he can set the record early next year. Partially it’s because he’s not concerned about his health, telling Rosenthal, “If this game hasn’t gotten me by now, no virus is going to get me.” He says that he’s lost some weight and that his doctor says his heart is “as healthy as a horse’s.”

It’s also, it seems, because West is something of a COVID-19 skeptic:

“I said, ‘Look, most of these people that they’re reporting are dying are not healthy to begin with. I’ve lost 25 pounds over the winter. I’m playing golf every day in the heat. I’m fine. I’m not going to back down now.’

“I don’t believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus. I believe it may have contributed to some of the deaths. I said, ‘I’m not going to opt out. I’m going to work. And I’m going to work until you take me off the field or I get hurt, whatever. I’m working.’”

Alrighty then.

West — whose reputation as a game arbiter is not the greatest — goes on to add that baseball needs his seniority, referring to young umps without senior umps’ guidance as being “in a boat without an oar.”

Joe West is not opting out of the 2020 season. That’s his right and his reasons are his reasons, I suppose.

Good luck, everyone.

 

Zack Britton’s season over, TJ surgery comeback out of time

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NEW YORK — Zack Britton‘s season is over, his comeback from Tommy John surgery cut short after just three relief appearances for the New York Yankees.

New York put the 34-year-old left-hander on the 60-day injured list and selected the contract of right-hander Jacob Barnes from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Britton was removed after throwing a tiebreaking wild pitch in a 2-1 loss to Baltimore, an outing that lasted just nine pitches. The two-time All-Star had Tommy John surgery on Sept. 8, 2021, and made eight minor league injury rehabilitation appearances starting Aug. 24 and three big league appearances beginning Sept. 24. He threw 36 pitches to nine batters with a 13.50 ERA, six walks and one strikeout.

“Kind of running out of time here and having a little bit of fatigue last night, it’s like one of those things, you don’t want to power through that and reach for more and then do some damage as you’re coming back,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s in a good spot heading into the offseason.”

Britton had hoped to be able to help the Yankees in the postseason. He is eligible for free agency after the World Series.

“It’s just that final sharpness,” Boone said. “At this point in the season, just kind of up against it there. But he worked his tail off to put himself in this position and give himself an opportunity and certainly admire that.”

Barnes, 32, started the season with Detroit and was released on June 18 after going 3-1 with a 6.10 ERA in 22 relief appearances. He struck out 10 and walked nine in 20 2/3 innings.

Barnes signed a minor league contract with Seattle, made four relief appearances for Triple-A Tacoma, then was brought up by the Mariners and designated for assignment two days later without playing in a game. He refused an outright assignment, signed back with the Tigers and made five appearances at Triple-A Toledo. Released by the Mud Hens, he signed with Scranton on Aug. 30 and had a 2.25 ERA in 10 games for the RailRiders.

Boone said reliever Clay Holmes will not go on the IL after receiving a cortisone injection for inflammation in his right rotator cuff. If the Yankees had put Holmes on the IL, he would not be available for the Division Series.

After playing his first game since Sept. 4 and going 0 for 3, DJ LeMahieu said his injured right second toe felt fine. He is in a 2-for-41 slide.

“It felt good to play again,” LeMahieu said. “I felt like a baseball player.”

Matt Carpenter, sidelined since breaking his left toot on Aug. 8, ran on the field and will be among players reporting to training camp for Double-A Somerset, where there will be eight or nine pitchers. Boone anticipates Carpenter being available for the postseason as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter.

Right-hander Frankie Montas, sidelined since Sept. 16 by inflammation in his pitching shoulder, has resumed throwing.

“I don’t know about the Division Series,” Boone said, “more likely beyond.”