I feel like I’ve already got coronavirus, since I’ve been pretty quarantined here on Bullets. Good thing I can not work from home just as easily as I can work from home. Except it’s driving me a little batty.
They are closing a school district about 2½ hours north of me. I don’t think that mask that Joe Musgrove is wearing in the photo will protect him, but it probably won’t hurt. It might get a bit hard to breathe after a while.
- On that subject, MLB is not expecting to delay the start of the season or play games in front of empty stadiums at this time. (The Athletic sub. req., but most of what is in that piece can be found here with no paywall.)
- Seattle is the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States and the Mariners are making contingency plans. The Mariners may play in front of an empty house in Seattle or they may open the season in Arizona, playing either at their Spring Training home or at Chase Field. The games could also be postponed. Unfortunately, they’re playing the Rangers and they can’t really open there instead since the new Rangers ballpark probably won’t be ready.
- Andrew Baggarly spoke with Giants Jeff Samardzija and Kevin Gausman about what it’s like to play in front of an empty house. (The Athletic sub. req.) Both players played in that Orioles/White Sox game that was closed to fans after the civil unrest that took place in Baltimore in 2015. Both players said they hated it and think games should be postponed rather than played with no fans.
- Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini has left the team to have a “non-baseball medical procedure.” We don’t have any information beyond that at this time as the Orioles are respecting Mancini’s privacy, but the Orioles are supporting their teammate.
- Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun has a fractured jaw after getting hit with a pitch on Sunday.
- Astros pitcher Justin Verlander was taken out of his start on Sunday with a sore right triceps. This is one of those things that could be nothing and could be the sign of something very serious. It could also be something in between those two. Really, we don’t know anything.
- Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has a fractured rib and will likely miss the start of the season. At least they finally figured out what was wrong with him.
- Travis Sawchik writes that the Yankees are poised to have a championship season—if they can stay healthy. That does seem to be a problem.
- Jayson Stark talks with MLB managers and they all universally hate the new minimum three-batter rule for relievers. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Tim Brown finds that players are confused about what is still permitted after MLB’s crackdown on video use and foreign substances.
- Buster Olney loves the mic’d-up players at Spring Training games and thinks baseball needs to expand this practice to the regular season to win over young and casual fans. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Matt Snyder explains that the reason why outfielder Christian Yelich signed a longterm extension with the Brewers is because Yelich loves Milwaukee and Milwaukee loves Yelich right back. Yelich has made it clear he wants to spend the rest of his career with the Brewers.
- Sam Alipour also talks with Yelich and Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger and how the two MVPs have become close friends over the last couple of years.
- Stephanie Apstein notes that outfielder Mookie Betts has made himself right at home with his new team, the Dodgers.
- Former Astros pitcher Collin McHugh signed with the Red Sox and said that he wished he would have been brave enough to speak up about the Astros sign-stealing.
- The Cardinals have released infielder Yairo Muñoz after he left the team and went home to the Dominican Republic. Muñoz did not speak to the team before departing.
- Will Leitch lists the fastest player on each MLB team.
- And Anthony Castrovince lists the one player that each MLB team can’t live without. Wow, it’s the same player in both lists for the Cubs.
- Dan Szymborski projects just how much longer we can expect Mike Trout to be the best player in the game.
- A former best player in the game, Barry Bonds, complained that MLB is treating him like “a ghost in a big empty house.” Bonds wants to get back to coaching, but no one is offering him a job.
- Bob Nightengale goes to Athletics camp and finds a team that feels ready to challenge the Astros for the AL West crown.
- Richard Justice looks at nine players having a great Spring Training.
- Lindsey Adler talks with members of the Yankees scouting staff about amateur scout Kelly Rodman, who died on Wednesday at the age of 44. (The Athletic sub. req.) Rodman was one of only three women working as full-time scouts before her death this past week.
- Padres broadcaster Mark Grant ordered a churro from a vendor live on the air.
- And finally, you’re never as famous as you think you are. Braves legend Chipper Jones got stopped by security at CoolToday Park, the Braves Spring Training home. When asked to show his credentials, he could only say “I’m on one of the banners.”
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.