Outfielder Socrates Brito and right-hander Blake Cederlind have both tested positive for the coronavirus, Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters (including Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The two players consented to be identified as having positive tests, though Shelton didn’t provide further details on their condition, saying only “there are some other things that they have to do medically before they can get back on the field.”
League rules dictate that Brito and Cederlind will be in quarantine for two weeks, and must then be symptom-free and test negative on two separate tests before rejoining their teammates. While health is obviously the first and foremost concern in this situation, the two-week hiatus will make it harder for either Brito or Cederlind to make the Bucs’ Opening Day roster, though Mackey notes that “neither Cederlind nor Brito was expected to begin the 2020 season with the big club.”
Brito signed a minor league deal with Pittsburgh over the winter, culminating a 2019 that saw him belong to four different organizations (Diamondbacks, Padres, Blue Jays, and finally the Pirates) within the calendar year. Brito did suit up for 17 games last season, all with Toronto, managing just a .291 OPS and 17 strikeouts over 43 plate appearances. The 27-year-old has only a .179/.216/.309 slash line over 218 career PA at the Major League level, though he has put up some good numbers in the minors and can play all three outfield positions.
Cederlind was a fifth-round pick for the Pirates in the 2016 draft, and ranks 28th on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top 30 Pittsburgh minor leaguer. He didn’t produce much over his first three pro seasons, though Mackey notes that Cederlind’s fortunes changed after turning his 100mph fastball into a sinker — the right-hander had a combined 2.28 ERA, 8.3 K/9, and 2.29 K/BB rate over 59 1/3 combined innings at the high-A, Double-A, and Triple-A levels in 2019. This performance put him on the radar as a potential callup at some point in the 2020 season, as the rebuilding Pirates can afford to give looks to any promising youngster.