fbpx
Favorites

© 2022 BVM Sports. Best Version Media, LLC.

Favorites

Roster shuffle: Plans change in MLB because of health issues

Roster shuffle: Plans change in MLB because of health issues
Virus Outbreak Nationals - AP Photo/Julio Cortez

PHOENIX (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have shuffled their on-field staff to protect the health of some of their older coaches. A trio of players, including Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake and Nationals slugger Ryan Zimmerman, have announced they won’t be playing in the upcoming 60-game season.

As Major League Baseball lurches toward a late July start during the coronavirus crises, it’s clear that roster flexibility and organizational depth will be key.

The Twins confirmed Monday that bullpen coach Bob McClure and major league coach Bill Evers won’t be in the clubhouse at the start of this season because of health concerns. Both coaches are in their 60s and will stay with the organization to help in altered roles.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who was sitting in a Target Field dugout during a Zoom call, said he’s known both coaches for a long time and that the decisions were difficult. He added that both coaches were disappointed.

“I think we all know that we’re making the right decision, but that doesn’t mean it feels good,” Baldelli said. “It’s very, very challenging to even think about these sorts of things and have these conversations.”

But they’re exactly the conversations that are being had at both the organizational and personal level across the MLB landscape. The defending World Series champion Nationals will begin their title defense without Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross, who both declined to play because of health concerns.

“We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.”

Zimmerman, who told The Associated Press last week he was still deciding whether to play this year, ultimately said having three young children, including a newborn, and a mother at higher risk because of multiple sclerosis factored into his decision.

“Given the unusual nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family,” Zimmerman said.

The 35-year-old — who has been with the Nationals since 2005 — said this does not mean he’s retiring. He’s still deciding on his future beyond this season.

Ross, 27, has five seasons of MLB experience. He appeared in 27 games last season.

Zimmerman was due $740,741 and Ross $555,556 as prorated portions of their salaries, originally $2 million for the first baseman and $1.5 million for the pitcher. If they are deemed high risk by team physicians, they would still get paid and receive service time.

Arizona’s pitching depth took a hit even before the sport’s second training period begins later this week. The 32-year-old Leake was expected to be a part of the team’s starting rotation after starting 10 games last season and finishing with a 3-3 record and 4.35 ERA following a midseason trade with the Seattle Mariners.

D-backs general manager Mike Hazen didn’t elaborate on Leake’s decision but the pitcher’s agent issued a statement saying he made a personal decision not to play during the pandemic. Arizona still has substantial pitching depth with Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver and Zac Gallen expected to be in the starting rotation.

The fragility of baseball’s current health situation has been apparent for the past few weeks. The Philadelphia Phillies had a coronavirus outbreak at their spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida, earlier this month. Seven players and five staff members tested positive in the organization.

Phillies GM Matt Klentak said the team was “fortunate that none of the cases, player or staff, have been especially serious.” He said no one has been hospitalized.

But the outbreak is another example of how difficult it is to limit exposure.

“What is eyeopening to a lot of us is how quickly it spread even in an environment where we were on the extreme end of caution,” Klentak said. “The facility in Clearwater was pretty airtight in terms of staggering times of players reporting to work out, cleaning the facilities in between. Truthfully, it was frustrating to some players how strict it was and yet the outbreak still happened.”

Boston Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, 63, said his organization is doing as much as it can to keep everyone — especially older staff members — as safe as possible. Cleveland’s 61-year-old manager Terry Francona said he’s not nervous, even though he’s had previous health issues.

“I know I’m probably one of the higher-risk guys because of my age and some of the things that have gone on,” he said. “But the trainers and the doctors have been terrific. I would rather manage and be around the guys and be around the game than not.

“I’d be miserable if I didn’t do it.”

Angels manager Joe Maddon, who is 66, said it’s up to individual players and coaches to accept and embrace the safety protocols. There’s little doubt the upcoming season will be unlike any other — if it can be played.

“If you want to come in expecting the norms that we’re normally accustomed to, then you’re going to be frustrated constantly, and you can’t permit that to happen,” Maddon said.

___

AP Sports Writers Greg Beacham, John Marshall, Rob Maaddi, Tom Withers and Stephen Whyno contributed to this story.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Get local sports news direct to your inbox

Originals

more
Noah LaFine proving upside as Vanderbilt baseball commit

Noah LaFine proving upside as Vanderbilt baseball commit

Noah LaFine committed to Vanderbilt and won a state championship at Archbishop Hoban as just…

Ranking the Big Ten football coaches going into 2022

Ranking the Big Ten football coaches going into 2022

Who are the best football coaches in the Big Ten?

Carson Pickett’s historical USWNT debut with a limb difference

Carson Pickett’s historical USWNT debut with a limb difference

Carson Pickett makes history as the first player to play for the USWNT with a…

Sean Stewart brings family pedigree to Duke

Sean Stewart brings family pedigree to Duke

Sean Stewart will get the opportunity to suit up for the Blue Devils.

Giannis, Thanasis Antetokounmpo portrayed by Agada brothers in ‘Rise’

Giannis, Thanasis Antetokounmpo portrayed by Agada brothers in ‘Rise’

Disney’s ‘Rise’ tells the story of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokoumnpo’s path to the NBA…

Mike Grier to become first Black NHL general manager

Mike Grier to become first Black NHL general manager

Mike Grier is set to add to that history as he becomes the first Black…

Jace Arnold joins Badgers as highest-rated 2023 recruit

Jace Arnold joins Badgers as highest-rated 2023 recruit

Jace Arnold is the highest-rated football recruit to commit to the Wisconsin Badgers.

A look back at the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays

A look back at the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays came into the 2020 season with high expectations for themselves and…

Notre Dame commit David Lally looking toward MLB future

Notre Dame commit David Lally looking toward MLB future

David Lally had a tremendous career at Grand Blanc that included a state title and…

Louisville commit Zion Rose concludes special junior season

Louisville commit Zion Rose concludes special junior season

Zion Rose is one of the top Class of 2023 players in Illinois and one…

Eric Brown’s journey from 0 offers to 2022 MLB Draft prospect

Eric Brown’s journey from 0 offers to 2022 MLB Draft prospect

Eric Brown put his faith in God and now he is a potential first-round MLB…

Mitchell Robinson back with New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Mitchell Robinson back with New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Mitchell Robinson is back with the Knicks after agreeing to a new contract. Here is…

Mark Johnson looks to climb the mountain again with Wisconsin

Mark Johnson looks to climb the mountain again with Wisconsin

Mark Johnson will look to add to his historic resume in his 20th season as…

Ryan Niblett ready to bring track speed to Texas football

Ryan Niblett ready to bring track speed to Texas football

Texas Longhorns’ four-star WR commit Ryan Niblett will team up in Austin with No. 1-ranked…

Future Badger Paytn Monticelli now a two-time Gatorade POY

Future Badger Paytn Monticelli now a two-time Gatorade POY

Two-time Gatorade Wisconsin Softball Player of the Year Paytn Monticelli is continuing her career with…

Bobby Portis returning to Bucks on four-year, $49 million deal

Bobby Portis returning to Bucks on four-year, $49 million deal

After being an integral part of the Bucks’ championship run in 2021 and having a…

Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets; Which team lands KD?

Kevin Durant requests trade from Nets; Which team lands KD?

Kevin Durant has requested out of Brooklyn to set up one of the biggest trades…

Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks: Instant reaction

Jalen Brunson is finally a Knick. Here is everything you need to know:

Nick Van Exel is perfect for Trae Young, Dejounte Murray

Nick Van Exel is perfect for Trae Young, Dejounte Murray

Nick Van Exel, a fan favorite point guard from his time in the NBA and…

Tyler Freeman fulfilling his promise as Guardians prospect

Tyler Freeman fulfilling his promise as Guardians prospect

Cleveland Guardians shortstop prospect Tyler Freeman uses the motivation provided by his parents on his…