Three MLB players positive for COVID-19 in past week

Charles Grantham 10

NEW YORK — Three players were positive for COVID-19 among 900 intake samples among those arriving at spring training during the second week of workouts.

Major League Baseball said Friday there had been 15 positives overall among 5,236 tests thus far during spring training, a positive rate of 0.3%. Positive tests included 12 players and three staff.

Weekly monitoring testing included five positives among 13,208 tests, a rate of 0.4%. Positives included two players and three staff.

That left figures for monitor testing at five positives among 15,506 tests, a rate of 0.3%, and figures for all testing at 20 positives among 20,742 tests, a rate of 0.1%.

There have been 14 positive tests among players and six staff, covering 14 of the 30 teams.

All players on 40-man rosters and players with minor league contracts invited to big league training camp are screened. Also tested are all other on-field personnel such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers, strength and conditioning staff and physicians.

Team owner, front office management, communications staff, groundskeepers, clubhouse and travel staff and ballpark operations employees who require access to restricted areas also are screened.

All individuals tested were required to maintain a five-day at-home quarantine and undergo screening that included a PCR test, antibody test and contactless temperature check.

Under special rules this year, spring training games through March 13 may be shortened to five innings or seven innings if both teams agree, and spring training games from March 14-30 may be shortened to seven innings. Teams must notify MLB of an agreement on a shortened game by 5 p.m. Eastern time in the previous day. Any spring training game may be allowed to end in a tie after its scheduled length.

In addition, through March the manager of the team playing defense may allow a half inning to end before the third out if a pitcher has thrown at least 20 pitches.

Pitchers also may re-enter during spring training games.

Before Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tested positive during the sixth and final game of the World Series last Oct. 27, MLB said four days earlier that players had gone 54 consecutive days without any positive tests.

In the final figures released last year, MLB said it had collected 172,740 samples and that 91 had been positive, or 0.05%. Fifty-seven of 91 positives have been players, and 21 of the 30 teams have had a person covered by the monitoring test positive.

MLB and the players’ association combined to spend about $35 million on COVID-19 testing and rules last year during pre-season training, which started July 1, the delayed and shortened 60-game season, and the expanded 16-team playoffs.

There were 45 regular-season games postponed for COVID-19-related reasons last year but just two were not made up, between St. Louis and Detroit.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.