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Red Sox minor leaguer tests positive for coronavirus

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A Boston Red Sox minor league player has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced on Tuesday. The player received the results of his positive test on Monday and is “doing well” according to a team announcement. His identity has not been revealed.

The unnamed player was last at the Red Sox complex in Fort Myers on March 15, three days after Major League Baseball officially suspended its season, according to the announcement. The team believes the player contracted the virus after he left Fort Myers, but the Red Sox are shutting down operations at their Fenway South facilities for the next two weeks and will perform a deep cleaning to disinfect the buildings.

“During this pandemic, the health and safety of our players and employees and those in our community is prioritized over all else,” a team spokesman said in a statement. “The club will continue to follow recommendations set forth by health officials, Major League Baseball and our own medical team.”

The player is now recovering at home after receiving the results of the positive test, and all players and staff who came in contact have been advised to self-quarantine for the next two weeks. Two minor leaguers in the Yankees system previously tested positive for the coronavirus, with the Red Sox minor leaguer marking the third known professional baseball player to test positive.

Several players, including many who live in the Fort Myers area, continued working out at the Fenway South after the suspension of the season. The Red Sox said most coaches have gone home, but players have still been showing up, with around 8 to 15 players showing up daily, according to interim manager Ron Roenicke.

“We do have a crew there, a reduced crew, of medical staff, and we have guys who are able to work out with players who are coming,” Roenicke said last week. “They are showing up in waves. So the pitchers are showing up first in the morning. The guys who are in the area. And then in the afternoon, the guys who are still there, the regulars are showing up to hit in the batting cages and to stay sharp that way.”

In a conference call with the Boston media last Thursday, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said he would not be surprised if someone in the organization contracted the virus that has shut down the United States in recent weeks.

“That’s something we’re being very vigilant in monitoring,” Bloom said last week. “You look around the way this is going, we know it’s very, very possible it’s going to happen at some point. So we’re just trying to make sure everybody is educated and stay in touch with everybody.”

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Buster Olney’s top 10 shortstops — Tough calls at a loaded position

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Before we get to the ranking of baseball’s best shortstops, a story about an All-Star second baseman.

A few years ago, the Houston Astros‘ staff encouraged batting champion Jose Altuve to be more patient at the plate. The staffers assured Altuve they weren’t asking him to hunt walks, but they believed if Altuve could refrain from swinging at some really bad pitches, he would put himself in better ball-strike counts, draw a few more walks and compel opponents to throw the ball over the plate. In this way, he’d give himself a better chance to do damage when he did swing.

If pitchers and catchers believe you’ll hack at pitches outside the zone, the staffers noted, they’ll keep working outside the zone. Altuve adjusted, and yep, he’s doing more damage.

It’s remarkable how many among an exceptional group of shortstops in this era could be helped by making the same adjustment that Altuve made — and for some of them, it could be the difference between being really good and being the best.

Case in point: the Cubs’ Javier Baez.

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Former catcher, longtime coach Mike Ryan dies at 78

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BOSTON — Mike Ryan, the backup catcher on the Boston Red Sox‘s 1967 “Impossible Dream” team during a 35-year career in professional baseball, has died. He was 78.

The Red Sox said Ryan died in his sleep Tuesday in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

A native of Haverhill, Ryan appeared in 636 games with the Red Sox, Phillies and Pirates from 1964-74. He was Boston’s backup catcher for the AL championship team in ’67, going hitless in his only two World Series at-bats when the Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

In his career, he had a .991 fielding percentage and threw out 43.6% of runners attempting to steal a base.

Ryan went on to manage the Pirates’ Single-A affiliate and work for the Phillies as a minor league catching instructor and Triple-A manager. He also was the bullpen coach in Philadelphia for 16 years, including the 1980 World Series championship team.

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White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech opts out of 2020 season

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Chicago White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season, the team announced Friday.

“Michael Kopech has informed us of his decision to not participate in the 2020 season,” GM Rick Hahn said. “We recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive.”

The fire-balling right-hander is coming back from Tommy John surgery in September 2018. He hit triple digits on the radar gun during his first spring training appearance.

But the 24-year-old missed the start of summer camp earlier this month due to what Hahn said at the time was a personal matter.

The team also said star third baseman Yoan Moncada and reliever Jose Ruiz were placed on the 10-day injured list because of unspecified ailments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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