Franchy Cordero, who the Red Sox acquired from the Royals in the Andrew Benintendi trade, was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Monday. Gregory Bull/Associated Press

Franchy Cordero was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Monday.

The lone big-league piece to return in the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi and cash considerations to the Royals didn’t immediately clear the club’s intake process in Florida. Cordero was one of five players acquired by Boston – three to be named later – in a three-team deal that also included the Mets.

It’s a bit of a reminder of just how vigilant the Red Sox have been with respect to avoiding the virus. Boston made it through all 60 games last season without any positive tests after Summer Camp.

“Just try to keep yourself safe, but mostly the elder ones who are around here,” Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. “It can be coaching staff, front office, ownership group – whatever. Just try to think of them before you do something stupid.”

Cordero is the second Red Sox player to be placed on the virus list, joining catcher Kevin Plawecki. Right-hander Joel Payamps took Cordero’s open 40-man roster spot after being claimed off waivers for the second time this offseason. Payamps comes from Toronto this time after originally joining Boston from Arizona in November – he was designated for assignment when the Red Sox formally signed Garrett Richards.

Boston also added veteran catcher Jett Bandy as a non-roster invitee on Monday. The Red Sox are up to 72 players in camp with Cordero and Plawecki on the COVID list. Japanese right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura has yet to report as he sorts through his U.S. visa status.

MARINERS: Kevin Mather, president and CEO of the Seattle Mariners, resigned Monday following the emergence of video where he expressed opinions about organizational strategy and his views on some players.

Mariners Chairman John Stanton said Mather’s comments were inappropriate and do not represent the views of the franchise. Mather’s resignation is effective immediately. Stanton will take on the roles of CEO and team president on an interim basis.

“There is no excuse for what was said, and I won’t try to make one,” Stanton said in a statement. “I offer my sincere apology on behalf of the club and my partners to our players and fans. We must be, and do, better.”

In the Feb. 5 speech to the Bellevue, Washington, Breakfast Rotary Club, which was posted to YouTube over the weekend, Mather demeaned the English skills of two foreign-born Mariners employees: former Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who was hired in January as a special assignment coach, and minor league outfielder Julio Rodriguez.

Mather issued an apology late Sunday for his comments. He also touched on areas of the Mariners’ organizational situation going into the 2021 season – many of which Seattle’s front office would rather not be made public.

“We have a lot of work to do to make amends, and that work is already underway,” Stanton said.

According to the Seattle Times, at the speaking engagement Mather, his opening statement and later answering questions,  offered background and sensitive information on subjects that confirmed reports, including:

• The team’s financial situation, reduced payroll and frugality in free agency.

• The decision not to call up prospects Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert last year due to service-time constraints.

• An offer of a contract extension to Kelenic and some mildly insulting remarks to a few players.

The Times also reports that Mather came off as obtuse, indifferent, callous and petty toward some current and former Mariners players, situations facing the team and Major League Baseball’s expected upcoming labor strife.

YANKEES: Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is the likely starter starter for Manager Aaron Boone in the season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1.

Cole went 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA over 12 starts in last year’s abbreviated season, his first in pinstripes after signing a $324 million, nine-year contract as a free agent. Boone said Cole’s appearance in the opener is “safe to say.”

“I thought stuff was pretty good,” Boone said after Cole threw 26 pitches during a five-batter outing. “He used all of his pitches and I think did exactly what he needed to do today to take that next step in his progression to get ready for the season.”

Right-hander Luis Severino, coming back from Tommy John surgery last February, expects to advance to throwing other pitches in addition to fastballs next week. He remains on target to return in June or July.

“Mentally, physically, I feel pretty good,” Severino said.

Severino threw at 90 feet on level ground and will move to 120 feet on Tuesday. Two recently acquired pitchers projected to start the season in the rotation, Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon, are also returning from injuries.

ATHLETICS: Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal finalized an $11 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics on Monday, providing manager Bob Melvin with a new reliable ninth-inning option after former closer Liam Hendriks’ departure in free agency.

The 30-year-old Rosenthal went 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA with 11 saves over 23 2/3 innings for the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres last season.

He made $1,510,887 in the shortened 2020 season, including a $740,741 prorated share of a $2 million base and $770,146 in earned performance bonuses. He also received a $1 million buyout as part of the 2020 mutual option in his previous contract with Washington, which released him in July 2019.

BRAVES: The Atlanta Braves have claimed outfielder Phillip Ervin off waivers from the Chicago Cubs.

Ervin was added to the 40-man roster on Monday and will compete for a backup position. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on Saturday.

Braves position players will have their first workout in North Port, Florida on Tuesday. The Braves could have room in their outfield after Adam Duvall signed with the Miami Marlins. Nick Markakis remains a free agent.

Rookie Cristian Pache will compete with Ender Inciarte in center field. The outfield also includes Ronald Acuña Jr. and Marcell Ozuna.

Ervin, 24, played his first four seasons with Cincinnati. He hit .271 with seven homers in 94 games with the Reds in 2019. He hit a combined .149 for Cincinnati and Seattle last season. The right-handed hitter has a career .277 average against left-handers.

• NL MVP Freddie Freeman won’t report with the Braves’ position players on Tuesday following the birth of his twin sons.

Manager Brian Snitker said Monday he supports Freeman arriving later in the week. Freeman and his wife, Chelsea, on Sunday used their Twitter accounts to announce the additions of twin sons by posting “Officially a family of five.” Their first son, Charlie, was born in 2016. The Freemans did not immediately reveal names of their twins.

NATIONALS: Right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress agreed to terms with the Washington Nationals on a minor league deal that is pending the successful completion of a physical exam.

“He’s got to come in, take his intake test, take a physical, and then we’ll know more after that. But if everything goes well, I’m excited that we’ll have him,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Monday. “A veteran guy that knows how to pitch out of the back end of the bullpen.”

He’s another addition to the back end of a Nationals relief corps that already included Brad Hand, Daniel Hudson, Will Harris and Tanner Rainey.

The 33-year-old Jeffress was taken by Milwaukee in the first round pick of the 2006 amateur draft and has pitched for five teams over 11 years in the majors. He was an NL All-Star in 2018 for the Brewers.


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