NEW YORK — Five more baseball players tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, raising the total to 80 since testing started in late June.

Major League Baseball and the players’ association said six of 10,548 samples were new positives in the week ending Thursday, a rate of 0.05%. In addition to players, one staff member tested positive.

The sides do not announce names of those who test positive, but some players have allowed teams to identify themselves. Tampa Bay All-Star outfielder Austin Meadows was placed on the injured list Thursday night after testing positive for the coronavirus

The week included a five-day span with no new positive tests, MLB and the union said Friday.

For the past two weeks of monitoring testing, 23 of 17,949 samples have been new positives, a rate of 0.1% The new positives included 18 players and five staff members, all among 13 teams.

Including the initial intake screening that started in late June, 93 of of 21,701 samples have resulted in new positives, a rate of 0.4%. The positives included 80 players and 13 staff members, including four players who were additions to 60-man club player pools.

Twenty-eight teams have had a positive test result, including players and staff.

BRAVES: Outfielder Yasiel Puig won’t be signing a one-year deal with Atlanta because he tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Braves announced Tuesday that Puig, a free agent, had agreed to a contract, but the deal was contingent on him passing a physical.

Meanwhile, first baseman Freddie Freeman and right-hander Touki Toussaint were cleared to return to team facilities, the team announced.

Freeman and Toussaint were among the four Braves to test positive for COVID-19 before workouts began on July 3. Freeman exhibited symptoms, including a fever, body chills and headache, while Toussaint was asymptomatic.

YANKEES: Second baseman DJ LeMahieu returned to the field for the New York Yankees on Friday after missing nearly two weeks with COVID-19.

Manager Aaron Boone announced on July 4 that LeMahieu and right-hander Luis Cessa tested positive for the coronavirus before traveling to New York and said they were self-isolating at home.

LeMahieu was not in the lineup for Friday’s intraquad game but hit in a batting cage and was to take grounders on the field. Boone wants LeMahieu to build up his legs and said it’s not clear whether he will be ready for Thursday night’s opener at Washington.

“I don’t want to commit one way or the other,” he said.

LeMahieu signed with the Yankees before the 2019 season and hit .327. He set career highs with 26 homers and 102 RBI while splitting time among first, second and third. He turned 32 on Monday.
Following the departure of shortstop Didi Gregorius as a free agent, LeMahieu is expected to be mostly a second baseman this season as Gleyber Torres shifts to shortstop.

PIRATES: Joe Musgrove will be the Opening Day starter against St. Louis on July 24, but closer Keone Kela and right fielder Gregory Polanco will likely not be available due to health issues.

Kela, slated to be the team’s closer, was placed on the injured list for an undisclosed reason, while Polanco is out indefinitely after testing positive for COVID-19.

ANGELS: Right-hander Justin Anderson will have Tommy John surgery.

Anderson went 3-0 with a 5.55 ERA in 54 appearances last season for the Angels, who drafted him in the 14th round in 2014. He has five saves in his two big league seasons.

Anderson recently had an MRI that revealed a torn ligament in his right elbow. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas on Wednesday.

Anderson missed several weeks of spring training after injuring an oblique muscle while playing catch. He also missed a large portion of last season with an injured trapezius muscle in his neck and back.

The Angels’ bullpen appears to be fairly deep around closer Hansel Robles, with several tested major league relievers who could take Anderson’s role. Los Angeles opens the regular season in Oakland on July 24.

ROYALS: Pitcher Brad Keller, who had been out the last two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, returned to the club following a pair of negative tests.

He immediately hit the field for a 30-pitch bullpen session and had no issues.

 


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