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Sources — More St. Louis Cardinals test positive, Saturday’s game postponed

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Saturday’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers has been postponed following additional positive tests among the Cardinals, according to ESPN and multiple reports.

At least four more members of the Cardinals have tested positive for COVID-19, according to ESPN and multiple reports.

It is not known whether the new positive tests came from Cardinals players. Baseball reporter Craig Mish first reported on the new cases.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred had told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that if the sport doesn’t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could shut down for the season, sources familiar with the conversation told ESPN’s Jeff Passan. In text conversations with teammates Friday, MLBPA player representatives also warned about the threat to the season, according to Passan.

Friday’s series opener was postponed after two Cardinals players tested positive for the coronavirus. The game was moved to be part of a doubleheader Sunday — the first set of seven-inning games under an agreement announced by Major League Baseball on Friday.

After learning of the first two positive cases Thursday night, the Cardinals said that they instructed all players and staff to self-isolate in their hotel rooms in Milwaukee until further notice.

The Cardinals’ positives represented the first positive tests for baseball outside of the East Coast since the regular season started last week.

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New York Yankees’ Gio Urshela likely out 3 months after elbow surgery

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New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela had surgery Friday to remove a bone chip from his right elbow, and the team said his expected recovery time is three months.

Urshela is likely to miss about half of spring training, which starts in mid-February, and will have just a few weeks to get into shape ahead of the opener against Toronto on April 1. Yankees head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad operated at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Urshela was bothered by his throwing arm for much of the pandemic-shortened season. He was placed on the 10-day injured list with a bone spur in his right elbow on Sept. 4 and was activated Sept. 15 after missing 11 games. General manager Brian Cashman said on Oct. 14, five days after the playoff-ending loss to Tampa Bay, that Urshela did not need surgery.

New York purchased the contract of slick-fielding Urshela from Toronto for $1 on Aug. 4, 2018, and he became the Yankees’ regular third baseman after Miguel Andujar tore the labrum in his right shoulder while sliding headfirst into third base against Baltimore on March 31, 2019.

Urshela hit .314 with 21 homers and 74 RBIs in 2019, though he finished in a 12-for-58 (.207) slide from Sept. 1 on. He batted .238 (5-for-21) with a pair of solo homers in the five-game division series loss to Houston.

Urshela batted .298 with six homers and 30 RBIs in 151 at-bats during the 2020 season and slumped with 2-for-19 (.105) hitting with no RBIs in the playoffs. Now 29, he is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time.

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Zack Britton, Gerrit Cole, Jason Castro, Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien join union top panel

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NEW YORK — Yankees pitchers Zack Britton and Gerrit Cole, free agent catcher Jason Castro, Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor and free agent shortstop Marcus Semien were elected Friday to the executive subcommittee of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

They join St. Louis pitcher Andrew Miller, free agent pitcher James Paxton and Washington pitcher Max Scherzer on the union’s highest-ranking member body.

The newcomers replace Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, Collin McHugh and Daniel Murphy on the executive subcommittee.

Lindor and Semien were elected alternate association player representatives, Britton a pension committee representative, and Cole an alternate pension committee representatives.

Britton, Cole, Paxton and Scherzer are clients of agent Scott Boras. Semien is represented by the Wasserman agency, Lindor by SportsMeter, Miller by Frontline Athlete Management and Castro by ISE Baseball.

Cole at $324 million over eight years and Scherzer at $210 million over six seasons are among baseball’s highest-paid players.

Britton has a $53 million, three-year deal and Miller a $34.5 million, three-year contract. Lindor is eligible for arbitration after making $17.5 million. Semien had a $13 million salary last season, Paxton $12.5 million and Castro $6.85 million.

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MLB sues insurance providers, cites billions in losses related to COVD-19

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Major League Baseball and all 30 of its teams are suing their insurance providers, citing billions of dollars in losses during the 2020 season played almost entirely without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit, filed in October in California Superior Court in Alameda County and obtained Friday by The Associated Press, says providers AIG, Factory Mutual and Interstate Fire and Casualty Company have refused to pay claims made by MLB despite the league’s “all-risk” policy purchases.

The league claims to have lost billions of dollars on unsold tickets, hundreds of millions on concessions, tens of millions on parking and millions more on suites and luxury seat licenses, in-park merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships. It also cites over a billion dollars in local and national media losses, plus tens of millions in missed income for MLB Advanced Media. It says all of those losses should be covered by their policies.

MLB cut short spring training and postponed the start of its regular season in March, then began a truncated schedule in late July during which fans were barred from stadiums. Teams were limited to 60 regular-season games, down from 162. Most postseason games were played without fans, though there was limited capacity of about 11,000 per game for the National League Championship Series and World Series at Arlington, Texas.

“Due to COVID-19, the Major League Baseball entities, including those of the 30 major league clubs, have incurred significant financial losses as a result of our inability to play games, host fans and otherwise conduct normal business operations during much of the 2020 season,” the league said in a statement to the AP. “We strongly believe these losses are covered in full by our insurance policies, and are confident that the court and jury will agree.” .

Messages seeking comment were not immediately returned by the insurance providers.

Over 1,400 lawsuits have been brought against insurance companies regarding business interruptions claims related to the pandemic, according to data compiled by the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. That includes several similar suits by minor league baseball teams, whose season was wiped out completely when baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred canceled it.

At least one of those minor league cases, filed in Arizona and led by the Chattanooga Lookouts, has already been dismissed due to a virus exclusion in the policy.

Insurers in many cases have insisted that financial losses caused by the coronavirus do not constitute physical loss or property damage. MLB is claiming the virus has led to both.

“The presence of the coronavirus and COVID-19, including but not limited to coronavirus droplets or nuclei on solid surfaces and in the air at insured property, has caused and will continue to cause direct physical damage to physical property and ambient air at the premises,” the suit says. “Coronavirus, a physical substance, has attached and adhered to Plaintiffs’ property and by doing so, altered that property. Such presence has also directly resulted in loss of use of those facilities.”

Many teams have laid off front office employees in response to the pandemic, and many are predicting a slow offseason for players in free agency. Several clubs have already cut loose high-level players as a way to save money, including when the Cleveland Indians declined a $10 million club option on three-time All-Star Brad Hand and the Chicago Cubs failed to offer a contract to popular slugger Kyle Schwarber, allowing the 2016 World Series champion to become a free agent.

MLB has not said whether 2021 spring training or the season will start on time.

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