MLB expects more coronavirus cases after latest tests

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New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will sit out rest of 2020 MLB season citing Covid-19 concerns. AFP

The St. Louis Cardinals, already facing multiple Covid-19 cases that wiped out their weekend Major League Baseball games, expect more positive results from testing Sunday, ESPN reported.

The Cardinals said in a statement they do not expect an update on test results before Monday and will remain at a hotel in Milwaukee, where three planned games against the Brewers were called off due to their cases.

ESPN reported that someone with the team said the last round of tests are “not good,” and that unnamed sources expect multiple new positives from the latest test results.

The Cardinals have had one player and three staff members test positive for Covid-19, and inconclusive results for another player and three staffers.

That follows 20 positive tests reported for the Miami Marlins and more for ballpark employees of the Philadelphia Phillies, who hosted the Marlins in the clubs’ opening MLB games of the season.

The Marlins and Phillies didn’t play the past week but are set to resume MLB competition in the next few days with those whose test results allow under MLB safety protocols.

A season of 162 games per team was expected to start in March, but the coronavirus pandemic cut the season to 60 games per club. MLB plans to stage all games in empty home ballparks, with teams traveling between cities.

New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has decided not to play the remainder of the season due to Covid-19 concerns, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said.

Cespedes left his hotel room in Atlanta without notifying the club, something his agent did later Sunday.

“This is a challenging time for everyone. And so we will support him in that decision,” Van Wagenen said. “It was surprising, without question. At the same point, we have to go forward.”

Most teams continued to play Sunday as normal, with some record-setting efforts.

Record by Tiger pitcher

Detroit Tigers left-handed relief pitcher Tyler Alexander struck out the first nine batters he faced in the opener of Sunday’s doubleheader against Cincinnati, breaking the old MLB reliever’s strikeout streak mark of eight by former New York Yankees pitcher Ron Davis against the California Angels in 1981.

Alexander was one shy of matching the record of 10 consecutive strikeouts set by Tom Seaver of the New York Mets in 1970.

“I normally don’t try to strike people out,” Alexander said after the Tigers lost 4-3 to the Reds. “But I would say after the fifth strikeout I was trying to strike people out.”

Alexander was one strike from retiring Mike Moustakas for a second time for his 10th in a row, but wound up hitting him instead to end the run.

“I tried to strike him out,” said Alexander. “But I ran it up and in and hit Moustakas in the wrist.”

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit a home run in his fifth consecutive game on Sunday, becoming the first Yankee with such a homer streak since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Judge tagged a three-run blast off Boston left-hander Matt Hall in the second inning.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani, who couldn’t manage to secure an out and allowed five runs in his season debut last weekend, struggled in throwing only 1 2/3 innings Sunday in the club’s 6-5, 11-inning loss to Houston.

The Japanese star, known for his ability to pitch and bat in his 2018 MLB debut campaign, underwent tendon replacement surgery and did not pitch in 2019.

Ohtani retired the Astros in the first inning on only eight pitches, but he struggled with control in the second inning, walking three batters to load the bases, striking out two Houston hitters, and then walking two more to force in two Astros runs.

Ohtani is batting .148 with two homers and seven runs batted in as a DH, pitching only on Sundays before and after a rest day.