The latest on COVID-19 around the league:
- The Brewers have been dealing with virus spread throughout the clubhouse in recent days, and another pair of players has tested positive. Starter Adrian Houser and reliever Jandel Gustave tested positive and were placed on the COVID IL, manager Craig Counsell told reporters (including Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). They join Josh Hader, Hunter Strickland, Eric Lauer, Jake Cousins, Keston Hiura and Christian Yelich on the COVID list. Yelich was cleared to return to the club today, but Milwaukee has elected to hold off on activating him for now as the star outfielder works his way back into game shape following a ten-day absence.
- The Diamondbacks have also been hit by COVID spread recently, but they got one of their players back today. Reliever Joe Mantiply, who had been out as a close contact of a player(s) who tested positive, was reinstated from the IL before this evening’s game against the Padres. Fellow southpaw Ryan Buchter, who was selected last week, was removed from the 40-man roster and returned to Triple-A Reno. As a COVID replacement, Buchter could be reassigned to the minor leagues without needing to pass through waivers.
- The recent uptick in viral spread (the Rockies and Yankees have each had similar issues recently) in both the league and the United States as a whole has caught the attention of MLB and the Players Association. After relaxing restrictions for vaccinated players and staff in mid-June, MLB is considering tightening protocols, reports Evan Drellich of the Athletic. The league updated its mask policy at Spring Training facilities this week, requiring those working at the facilities to wear masks in indoor areas regardless of vaccination status, Drellich writes. It seems MLB would prefer to tighten mask and distancing protocols rather than “aggressively” incentivize further vaccination among players and staff. Drellich writes that 85.5% of Tier 1 personnel leaguewide (players, coaches and other staff members in direct contact with the team) have been vaccinated.