It’s hard to say that time has flown by in regards to the MLB season, but we are just one week away from the start of the regular season. Here is a look at some of the headlines around the league over the past few days.
Several notable players are finally finding their way to summer camp after missing the first part. In Washington, Juan Soto and Howie Kendrick have finally rejoined the Nationals a week before the season opener.
The team didn’t say why Soto and Kendrick missed the start of camp. However, the city of Washington is mandating a 14-day quarantine for anyone who comes into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The Nationals are still missing outfielder Victor Robles.
Meanwhile, Yan Moncada has rejoined the White Sox after contracting COVID-19. Moncada says he didn’t have any serious symptoms outside of losing his sense of smell. He’s one of Chicago’s young stars who’s coming off a breakout season, making him an important part of the team this season.
Lost in the Meadow
The Rays might be without Austin Meadows when the season starts next week after the outfielder was placed on the IL for testing positive for COVID-19. Meadows gave the club permission to make his positive test public.
After a breakout season in 2019, Meadows is arguably the most important hitter in Tampa’s lineup, which would make him a huge loss if the virus forces him to miss any portion of the season. Manuel Margot and Japanese import Yoshitomo Tsutsugo would likely fill in for Meadows in left field if he’s not back by next week.
Puig Braves It Out
After a long wait, it looked like Yasiel Puig finally had a job. The Braves and Puig agreed to terms earlier this week, but unfortunately for Puig, the deal has been put on hold.
Puig tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he’ll have to test negative twice with 24 hours in between each test, and self-quarantine before the Braves will be willing to go through with the deal.
The Cuban outfielder was the last notable free agent who remained unsigned when the season was suspended in March. After Nick Markakis decided to opt-out of the season, the Braves found themselves in need of another outfielder, a role that Puig would help fill.
There will be at least one MLB player wearing a mask during games this season. Didi Gregorius, who suffers from a kidney condition that makes him high-risk for COVID-19, says he will wear a mask while batting and playing defense this year.
As a high-risk candidate, Gregorius could have opted-out of the season and received a full pro-rated salary. However, he’s deciding to play but wear a mask out of an abundance of caution.
What’s That Noise?
With fans unlikely to be in attendance at games this season, MLB will take crowd noise from its official video game and pump it into stadiums during games to simulate a real crowd during games. Sound engineers at each stadium will have access to 75 different crowd reactions.
Teams have already started to utilize the fake crowd noise during intra-squad games, with some players commenting that it does help increase the intensity level during games. Fans watching on TV should be able to hear the noise, as well. Games in Korea are also pumping sound into the stadium, although it doesn’t always come across on TV broadcasts.
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