Some health updates from around the league with the regular season just four days away:
- Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith made his Summer Camp debut Saturday, notes Greg Johns of MLB.com. The speedster had not been previously been available for undisclosed reasons. Nevertheless, manager Scott Servais says he’s “pretty confident” Smith will be ready to go for the season opener, per Johns. This could be something of a make-or-break year for Smith, who fell flat in his first season in Seattle. He figures to take the bulk of the center field playing time, presumably flanked most days by Kyle Lewis and Jake Fraley.
- Rays right-hander Yonny Chirinos made his first Summer Camp appearance today, per various reporters (including Juan Toribio of MLB.com). Chirinos confirmed he’d tested positive for COVID-19 last month, experiencing mild symptoms, adds Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Fortunately, he’s now feeling better, and apparently cleared all MLB protocols for a return. The 24-year-old expressed an expectation he’ll be ready for Opening Day (via Toribio). Given the lack of ramp-up time, Chirinos’ innings will certainly be closely monitored in the early going. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging the 26-year-old is healthy again and in the process of getting back up to speed.
- Blue Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. was held out of activities yesterday with left side discomfort, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet was among those to relay. It doesn’t seem there’s huge cause for concern at the moment, but even a brief absence would threaten his availability for Opening Day. Gurriel repeating his strong 2019 effort (.277/.327/.541 with 20 home runs in 343 plate appearances) would go a long way if the Jays are to make a surprising push for the postseason in the shortened campaign.
- Mets infielder Jed Lowrie continues to be plagued by left leg issues, notes Tim Healey of Newsday. He won’t participate in today’s Summer Camp matchup with the Yankees. As Mike Puma of the New York Post points out, that doesn’t bode particularly well for Lowrie’s chances of being ready for Opening Day. It’s the latest setback for the well-respected veteran in a Mets’ tenure unfortunately marred by them. Injuries held Lowrie to just eight plate appearances in the first season of a two-year, $20MM deal.
- Orioles outfielder Dwight Smith, Jr. was cleared to participate in camp Friday. The 27-year-old acknowledged that a positive COVID-19 test was the reason he’d been delayed, per Rich Dubroff of Baltimore Baseball. Fortunately, he’s obviously now managed to clear the protocols for a return and hopes to be ready for Opening Day. Smith hit just .241/.297/.412 (83 wRC+) with 13 home runs in 392 plate appearances last season.