Yasiel Puig tests positive for COVID-19
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Yasiel Puig tests positive for COVID-19

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Next up on your 2020 bingo card: Yasiel Puig tests positive for COVID-19. And, Ken Rosenthal reports, he will not be signing with the Atlanta Braves as a result.

Puig, who was reported to be in agreement with the Braves on a deal, but whose signing had not yet been officially announced, tweeted moments ago that, while he is asymptomatic, he has tested positive for COVID-19. He said “I feel absolutely fine. I will be quarantined until I receive two negative test results, which I hope will arrive shortly.”

Puig goes on to say, “I am sad that this has happened, but I believe that everything is in God’s timing and that my return to MLB will happen in His perfect plan and timing for me. When I return to the field I will do so knowing that I will have one less hurdle to overcome.”

Puig hit .252/.302/.475 (92 OPS+) for the Reds last year before being traded to the Indians at the deadline. Once in Cleveland his performance improved, as he hit .297/.377/.423 (109 OPS+). His reported deal with the Braves comes on the heels of Braves outfielder Nick Markakis opting out of the 2020 season and after Braves star first baseman Freddie Freeman was laid up with fairly serious symptoms of COVID-19 himself.

Yasiel Puig tests positive for COVID-19, according to Puig:

Earlier today Major League Baseball announced that it had collected 10,548 samples over the past week, but just six (0.05 percent) returned as new positives. Whether that includes Puig or not is not clear. This could be a new one that came in after the report was issued.

To date, the league has collected 17,949 monitoring samples and 23 new positives (18 players, five staff members), which equals 0.1 percent. When combining ongoing monitoring testing and intake screening that began June 27, there have been 93 positive tests (80 players) among 21,701 samples, which translates to 0.4 percent. Twenty-eight of the league’s 30 teams have had at least one positive. Again, whether that includes Puig is not known.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”