The Dodgers will open their new spring training this week, and plan to hold their first team workout at Dodger Stadium on Friday. Almost simultaneously, Los Angeles County reported their largest single-day new coronavirus case count on Monday.
“The alarming increases in cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations signals that we, as a community, need to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the LA County Director of Public Health. “Otherwise, we are quickly moving toward overwhelming our healthcare system and seeing even more devastating illness and death. Businesses must closely adhere to directives.”
LA County reported 2,903 new cases Monday, and said the seven-day average of reported new cases has risen 45% in the last two weeks, with 1,710 currently hospitalized throughout the county. The latter figure is potentially putting the county “at risk of running out of hospital beds if we don’t take steps to increase that capacity within the next two to three weeks,” Dr. Roger Lewis, director of the coronavirus modeling unit for the county, told the Los Angeles Times.
The county, with over 1,089,000 people tested, reported a positivity rate of 9%, with the seven-day average positivity rate increasing from 4.6% in late May to 8.4% on Monday.
As for baseball, MLB needs state and local health officials to be on board with their expansive operations manual, which details the many ways the league will try to navigate through a pandemic.
“We are reviewing the manual and appreciate the efforts of the MLB to develop and implement health and safety protocols that protect players and employees,” a Los Angeles county health official told True Blue LA.
The Dodgers, like all sports teams in Los Angeles, will need to adhere to orders and protocols set forth by the county, detailed in a five-page checklist, most of which seems to be covered by MLB’s operations manual.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said last week a few members of the organization tested positive for coronavirus, though he didn’t specify whether the positive tests came from players, coaches, or other team employees.
With intake screening happening this week, every player, coach, and essential baseball personnel members will be tested for coronavirus, and will be subject to testing every other day going forward. On Friday, the NBA announced that 16 of 302 players tested positive (5.3%) on June 23, and the MLS on Sunday announced 18 positive tests out of 668 players (2.7%) since training began June 4. On Monday, the NHL announced 15 positive tests out of the more than 250 players reporting to training facilities (no more than 6%).
“From the outset, we’ve been diligent about educating ourselves and keeping our guys as informed as possible. I have a lot of confidence in our players, coaches, and people in Tier 1 and Tier 2. Anyone could be affected, and that potential harm could affect a lot of other people,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Thursday. “Just continuing to talk about how important it is to take this seriously.”
Links & news
- Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times caught up with corner infielder Brandon Lewis, the Dodgers’ fourth-round pick in 2019 out of UC Irvine. “I’m hopeful there will be some type of organized baseball in the fall or winter,” Lewis said. “That’s what I’m aiming for.”
- Will Leitch at MLB.com picked a make or break hitter for each MLB team. He chose Cody Bellinger for the Dodgers, for this reason: “But after 48 games last year, he was hitting .408. What do you think the season’s last two weeks will be like if he’s doing that this time?”
- The first wave of players opting out of the 2020 season came Monday, with Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake, Ian Desmond of the Rockies, and Nationals teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross deciding not to play this year. “We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement.
- Craig Edwards at FanGraphs broke down what we learned from all 30 MLB teams’ player pool submissions.
- Among the top 100 starting pitchers for fantasy league purposes in a 60-game season, from Paul Sporer at FanGraphs, include Walker Buehler at No. 5 and Clayton Kershaw 10th.