Guardians manager Terry Francona still sidelined with COVID-19

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CLEVELAND — Guardians manager Terry Francona missed his fourth consecutive game after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Francona and most of his coaching staff were forced to return from the team’s trip to Chicago and Minnesota after an outbreak in Cleveland’s clubhouse. The series finale against the White Sox was postponed shortly after Francona’s positive test.

First baseman Josh Naylor also remains out following his positive test on Friday.

Pitching coach Carl Willis, who is filling in as manager while Francona recovers, said he has spoken with the 63-year-old several times.

“He’s feeling much better,” Willis said before the Guardians opened a two-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. “I think he’s ready. Again, it’s just a matter of when his numbers or the negative tests come in that he’s cleared to rejoin us. But he’s feeling much better.”

Francona missed most of the past two seasons with serious health issues.

The Guardians did get back hitting coach Chris Valaika, one of five members of Francona’s staff to test positive. Bench coach DeMarl Hale, first-base coach Sandy Alomar and third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh are still out.

“They’re all feeling much much better,” Willis said. “A couple of them have been asymptomatic. There are protocols in place that we have to get to these numbers or consecutive negative test until they can rejoin us. Again, that’s a fluid situation. I certainly hope they’re cleared soon.”

Mariners sign RHP reliever Trevor Gott to 1-year contract

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SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners have begun the process of bolstering their bullpen by signing right-hander Trevor Gott to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

Gott appeared in 45 games last season with Milwaukee, going 3-4 with a 4.14 ERA. Gott had 44 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .204 batting average.

Gott’s signing helps fill a void created when Erik Swanson was traded to Toronto as part of the deal that brought slugger Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle earlier this month. Gott has also pitched for San Francisco, Washington and the Los Angeles Angels.

Last season with the Brewers, Gott saw significant drops in batting average against and walk percentage, while raising his strikeout percentage.

Seattle also made a front office announcement Wednesday with the promotion of Andy McKay to assistant general manager. McKay has been with the club since 2015, when he was hired as the director of player development. McKay was promoted to senior director of baseball development in November 2021.

In his new role, McKay will oversee baseball development at all levels of the organization.