Astros pitchers workout
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Astros pitchers held out of Sunday’s workout at Minute Maid Park

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Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that Astros pitchers were held out of Sunday’s workout at Minute Maid Park. Pitching coach Brent Strom, who is 71 years old, was also absent. The Astros cancelled Saturday’s full workout after a staff member was possibly exposed to someone from outside the organization who tested positive for COVID-19. The pitchers were tested again for the virus.

As Rome notes, the Astros have already had two workouts cancelled and the pitchers are currently awaiting results on the most recent round of tests. Additionally, third baseman Alex Bregman has missed some workouts due to a delay in the processing of his COVID-19 testing.

While it is ironic to be discussing this about the Astros of all teams, the incongruity of testing is creating a competitive advantage for some teams and a disadvantage for others. Testing delays have also impacted the Nationals, Athletics, and Angels. As “summer camp” lasts only three weeks compared to the usual six weeks of spring training, every cancelled workout and every individual held out of action while he awaits testing results will have an impact on teams’ readiness for the regular season.

The Astros will open the regular season at home against the Mariners on July 24. The pitching matchup will likely feature Justin Verlander versus Marco Gonzales.

Diamondbacks place Bumgarner on IL with back strain

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PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks ace Madison Bumgarner has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a mid-back strain.

The left-hander was lifted after two innings Sunday against San Diego due to back spasms.

The Diamondbacks placed Bumgarner on the injured list Monday and selected the contract of right-hander Jeremy Beasley from their alternate training site.

Bumgarner allowed six runs on five hits in two innings against the Padres to remain winless since signing an $85 million, five-year deal with Arizona last offseason. The four-time All-Star has seen his velocity dip into the upper 80s this season and has a 9.35 ERA after Sunday’s start.

Bumgarner was a four-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion in 11 seasons with San Francisco.

Beasley will be making his major league debut.