A’s announce positive virus test, game vs. Astros postponed

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HOUSTON — The Oakland Athletics had one member of their organization test positive for COVID-19, causing Major League Baseball to postpone the team’s game Sunday against the Houston Astros.

The finale of the A’s three-game series at Minute Maid Park was called off less than four hours before it was scheduled to start.

The A’s said the team conducted testing and contact tracing for the entire traveling party Sunday morning and would self-isolate in Houston with recommended safety precautions in place.

The Astros beat the Athletics 6-3 on Saturday night for a doubleheader sweep. They won the first game 4-2. The doubleheader was scheduled after the A’s and Astros decided not to play Friday night to raise awareness of racial inequality in the wake of the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin.

COVID-19 testing has now postponed 38 games. All 30 major league teams played Saturday the same day for the first time since July 26.

MLB’s plan to play a pandemic-shortened 60-game regular season has been interrupted by positive coronavirus tests, protests over racial injustice, a hurricane and rain – and that’s just in the past week.

The Astros and Angels moved up Thursday’s game to Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in Louisiana on Thursday morning. Houston’s game on Wednesday against the Angels was postponed.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.