Opening day rosters gained clarity on Tuesday when the Atlanta Braves reached an agreement with Yasiel Puig, and Tampa Bay pitcher Tyler Glasnow provided hopes for teams awaiting players to be cleared following positive tests for the coronavirus.
Puig agreed to a one-year deal pending a physical, a person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement is not official until Puig passes the physical.
The 29-year-old Puig, who began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, hit a combined .267 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs for Cincinnati and Cleveland in 2019. He also stole 19 bases.
Puig was the last big-name free agent from the offseason who had not signed with a team. He helps the Braves fill a void left when Nick Markakis opted out for the season.
Glasnow rejoined the Rays after missing the first 11 days of summer camp following his positive test. The right-hander immediately jumped into a simulated game at Tropicana Field and threw 49 pitches over 3 1/3 innings.
Glasnow said he felt fine and expects to be ready to begin the 60-game season on time.
Outside of briefly losing his sense of taste and smell, the 26-year-old Glasnow said he didnâ€™t experience any noticeable symptoms of COVID-19.
â€œI had maybe really mild cold symptoms for maybe a day,â€ Glasnow said, wearing a mask during a Zoom call. â€œIf this wasnâ€™t going on, I probably wouldnâ€™t have known I was sick.â€
The pitcher said he quarantined for 14 days inside his apartment in St. Petersburg, Florida. After that, he was able to work out alone, throwing into a net when he was able to find an empty park in the area.
â€œIt would always be at a weird time of the day, and it had to be nobody there,â€ Glasnow said. â€œIf there was anybody there, I would just leave.â€
Glasnow, Charlie Morton and 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell lead a rotation that has the potential to be among the best in baseball. Glasnow was 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 12 starts last season.
Mets second baseman Robinson CanÃ³ also returned to camp after missing five straight workouts for undisclosed reasons. The 37-year-old CanÃ³ was scheduled to participate in practice, but not the intrasquad game at night.
â€œWeâ€™ll go day by day. I mean, he looks great. Heâ€™s in great shape,â€ manager Luis Rojas said.
Mets relief pitchers Brad Brach and Jared Hughes remained absent.
Also returning was Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander, whose late arrival might have been attributed to COVID-19 testing. The team has not provided an explanation.
Santander, who hit 20 home runs last year, is a projected starter. The short-handed outfield is without slugger Trey Mancini, who had colon cancer surgery in March. Dwight Smith Jr. has not yet reported, for reasons not disclosed by the Orioles.
SPRINGER HELD OUT
Houston outfielder George Springer missed practice because of a delay in receiving his coronavirus test results, the latest in a series of testing snafus for the Astros.
They were forced to cancel their practice on July 6 because the Fourth of July holiday delayed test results. Third baseman Alex Bregman was held out of practice last week because he hadnâ€™t received his test results.
Manager Dusty Baker said he understands Major League Baseball is trying to work the kinks out of the new system. Baker said he hopes things get figured out soon so no players are forced to miss games because of testing delays.
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton has a sprained left foot and is day to day. He got hurt chasing a fly ball Monday night.
Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos could miss the start of the season because of an injured right ankle sustained in an intrasquad game Monday night. Left fielder Willie Calhoun also left that game early, after feeling tightness in his right hip flexor.
â€œHe is still tender today. If you talk to him, he doesnâ€™t think heâ€™ll be out that long. We believe there is a strain in there,â€ manager Chris Woodward said.
Calhoun suffered a broken jaw when he was hit by a fastball in a spring training game March 8. He has recovered from that.
Seattle placed right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano on the injured list without providing a reason. Hirano, who was 5-5 with one save and a 4.75 ERA in 62 relief appearances for Arizona last season, has not appeared in summer camp.
NATS HITTING COACH RETURNS
Washington Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long was cleared to participate and made his camp debut in an intrasquad game. In the game, the Nationals prepared for the new extra-inning rule by having a runner start out a half-inning on second base.
A LITTLE SCARED
Marlins catcher Francisco Cervelli said â€œeverybody is concernedâ€ about the virus outbreak in South Florida.
â€œI donâ€™t want to have this virus, or anyone on my team,” Cervelli said. “We just have to be careful. We donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going to happen. Every day here Miami is getting crazy. Iâ€™m a little scared, yes, but weâ€™re here to play baseball.â€
MORE THAN A LITTLE SCARED
White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal is concerned about being unable to maintain proper social distancing behind the plate.
â€œIâ€™d be lying to you if I said I wasnâ€™t worried about it,â€ Grandal said. â€œObviously, this is something youâ€™ve got to take very serious because it can spread out as fast as anything. In my case, this is not only for my health and the health of my teammates, but itâ€™s also for the health of my family. My wife is pregnant, so I donâ€™t want (anything) to happen to her. I donâ€™t want (anything) to happen to my kids. So, weâ€™re going to take all the precautions we need in order to stay safe and keep ourselves safe.â€
BRAUN IS TOP PICK
Milwaukee outfielder Avisail Garcia and catcher Omar Narvaez drafted teams for this week’s â€œBlue & Gold World Seriesâ€ games.
The surprise? Christian Yelich, who won the NL MVP in 2018 and was second in the balloting last year, didnâ€™t get picked first. Garcia went with Ryan Braun instead.
â€œI want to compete against the best,â€ Garcia said, explaining why he didnâ€™t pick Yelich.
The strategy didn’t last long. Garciaâ€™s team then traded Braun and shortstop Orlando Arcia for Yelich and infielder Eric Sogard. The trade was necessary because one roster had virtually all right-handed hitters before facing right-hander Brandon Woodruff.
DESHIELDS BAFFLED BY POSITIVE TEST
Indians outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. says he was taking every necessary precaution and still contracted the coronavirus while in Arizona.
â€œI was doing everything I was supposed to do,â€ he said Tuesday. â€œWe were doing a good job in Goodyear of keeping our distance and making sure we were cleaning up after ourselves. So, honestly, I have no idea.”
DeShields missed the re-start of Clevelandâ€™s camp after he experienced COVID-19 symptoms, including a loss of taste and smell. He said he didn’t have an appetite and added: “It wasnâ€™t fun at all. â€¦ It was pretty brutal.â€
SOROKA GETS OPENING DAY START
Manager Brian Snitker has named Mike Soroka, 22, the Braves’ youngest opening day starter in the modern era. The Braves open at the New York Mets on July 24.
â€œItâ€™s something that you dream about as a kid,â€ Soroka said.
The right-hander was 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 2019.
Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb are expected to follow Soroka in the rotation as Cole Hamels’ recovery from a sore shoulder was slowed by triceps tendinitis.
FAN CUTOUTS AT DODGER STADIUM
The Dodgers are selling fan cutouts with prices ranging from $149 to $299. Net proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation.
The team may relocate or remove the fan cutouts if able to sell tickets during the season.
AP Sports Writers Dave Campbell, Jay Cohen, Mike Fitzpatrick, David Ginsburg, Beth Harris, Stephen Hawkins, Joe Kay, Steve Megargee, Steven Wine and Tom Withers contributed to this report.
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