The Nationals and Yankees are tentatively scheduled to play on July 23, according to Joel Sherman and Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, which would make for a big Max Scherzer vs. Gerrit Cole pitching matchup to highlight Opening Day. It might still be at least a week or two before the 2020 schedule is officially finalized, however, as the league is still considering a number of factors, chief among them coronavirus outbreaks around the United States. “Better, the league believes, to take its time, see how the [COVID-19] testing of personnel goes this week and the preferences expressed in feedback from clubs,” Sherman and Marchand write. “So the current schedule can change drastically and, if it does, the union will have to provide its blessing again.”
More from around baseball…
- Tomorrow is the deadline for teams to submit their initial 60-man player pool, and details are already beginning to emerge about which players may or may not be included. The Twins’ taxi squad will include top prospects Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, and Brent Rooker, SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson tweets. Caleb Thielbar, who rejoined Minnesota on a minors contract last winter, is also expected to be on taxi squad duty.
- The Athletics will initially split their player pool into two groups, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, with much of the big league roster training in Oakland and the taxi squad potentially training in nearby Stockton — the home of the Athletics’ Class-A affiliate — if a deal can be finalized with Stockton city officials. Offseason minor league signings Ryan Goins, Carlos Perez, Jordan Weems, and Lucas Luetge will all be in Oakland, while taxi squad players include such notable prospects as Tyler Soderstrom, Daulton Jefferies, Nick Allen, Dustin Fowler and (as per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez) Robert Puason.
- Slusser also provides updates on some Athletics players who were battling injuries during the spring but are now on track to be ready for Opening Day. A.J. Puk “has been throwing bullpen sessions for months” following a shoulder strain in the spring, and looks to be ready to begin the season in Oakland’s rotation. Right-hander Daniel Mengden is also ready to be part of the pitching mix after recovering from arthroscopic elbow surgery in February. After being sidelined with an intercostal strain during Spring Training, Stephen Piscotty said he is now “100 percent with no limitations.”
- The Rays and Rangers are the latest teams to commit to paying their minor leaguers through the end of July, as respectively reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Minor leaguers in each organization will continue to receive their $400 weekly stipends for at least another month.