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MLB Bullets is gonna be around for a while

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Christian Yelich is signing a mega-deal with the Brewers. MLB is beginning to watch what’s going on with COVID-19. And James Paxton’s wife made a movie about an important event in her husband’s life.

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My turn to go MLB Bulleting!

  • Christian Yelich has been a thorn in the side of the Cubs over the last two years. He’s likely going to be that for the rest of his career, as the Brewers and Yelich are reportedly nearing a nine-year, $215 million contract extension.
  • ESPN’s Buster Olney, Jesse Rogers and Alden Gonzalez had a roundtable discussion of what the Yelich signing would mean to the Brewers as well as for the rest of MLB.
  • There’s another big star coming up for a potential long-term contract soon:

(Cross off “Cleveland Indians” and “Lindor” above and replace them with “Chicago Cubs” and “Bryant” and the tweet would have the same meaning.)

  • Chris Sale was supposed to have a delayed start to his 2020 season due to pneumonia. Now he’s got elbow issues too, writes Chris Cwik.
  • Sale isn’t the only A.L. East star who’s likely not going to make Opening Day. Liz Roscher chronicles the woes of Yankee stars Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Of course, that just means the Yankees will drag more guys off the waiver wire and turn them into superstars like they did last year.
  • Rays prospect Garret Whitley was struck by a foul ball in the dugout and suffered “multiple facial fractures.” He’ll be out for some time. All best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.
  • Turning to COVID-19, somewhat inaccurately termed the “coronavirus” (a “coronavirus” can describe many different viruses. Here we are dealing only with the current one now termed COVID-19). Jeff Passan reports that the Pirates have conducted a “deep clean” of their spring-training facility in Bradenton, Florida, because a man in Manatee County (where Bradenton is located) tested positive for the virus.
  • There are no plans to postpone or cancel games — yet, writes Passan, but MLB has issued a memo to teams making these suggestions:

Players avoid taking balls and pens directly from fans to sign autographs — a suggestion that will be fleshed out in training materials the league intends to send to teams — and opt against handshakes.

Teams open lines of communication with the local public-health authority.

Front offices consult a local infectious-disease specialist who can serve as a conduit to health officials.

Medical personnel ensure all players have received the 2019-20 flu vaccine and are up-to-date on other vaccinations.

  • Gordon Wittenmyer notes that Yu Darvish, who has friends and family in Japan, is “very worried” about COVID-19 and cancelled some offseason appearances as a result. While it is very early to think about this:

MLB, which is in contact with the NBA and other leagues, as well as health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has yet to establish coronavirus-related policy or travel restrictions.

But indications are the status of the Cubs-Cardinals series in London in June is an area of internal discussion as MLB plots a course of action and preventative measures for a regular season that starts in three weeks.

“I feel like with everything right now, this entire situation is fluid,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Things are changing not week-to-week but day-to-day. I think that right now there’s probably some acceptance that we’re on standby for changes, be it schedule or travel or what-not.”

  • Meanwhile, The Japan Times reports that NPB, which is already playing its spring training games without fans, is creating a task force to deal with possible ramifications of COVID-19 in Japan, where the virus has had much more impact than in North America. NPB’s season is scheduled to begin March 20.
  • And what about minor league baseball?

As they say, stay tuned.

  • Alex Rodriguez, who knows something about suspensions, says the Astros ought to show some remorse for what they did:

I give A-Rod credit. He served his time and accepts that it was a punishment for something he did wrong. That’s how you get people back on your side — say you were wrong and mean it. A-Rod has. The Astros ought to learn from that.

  • More Astros: New Angels catcher Jason Castro talked with Bill Shaikin about playing for the Astros back when they were tanking.
  • I had hoped the Cubs might sign Josh Lindblom, who came back from dominating Korea’s KBO league. Instead, he signed with the Brewers. Will Sammon has details on Lindblom’s journey. (The Athletic subscription required)
  • Henderson Alvarez, who once threw a no-hitter before injuries hit, is trying to make comeback. He’s only 29. Marc Carig has the details. (Also, check out who caught Alvarez’ no-hitter.) (The Athletic subscription required)
  • Lamond Pope writes that new White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel treated pretty much everyone on the team (players, clubhouse attendants, trainers, equipment managers, secretaries and the entire coaching staff) to dinner to “get to know them better.” It cost Keuchel $25,000. With a new three-year deal (with a fourth-year option) worth at least $55 million, he can afford it.
  • Sam Fortier talks with Nationals World Series hero Daniel Hudson, who still remembers how it felt to be cut by the Nats last spring.
  • Lastly, Yankees starter James Paxton, like all the Bronx Bombers, must be clean-shaven for the season. (FWIW, in my view this is a dumb thing. MLB isn’t the military.) Paxton’s wife Katie made a short film about him denuding his face of hair (it’s eight parts, you’ll have to click through each one to continue):

Nominate that for a short-subject Oscar!

And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.