Diamondbacks right-handers Junior Guerra and Silvino Bracho have tested positive for the coronavirus, manager Torey Lovullo told reporters (including The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan and The Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro) today. Guerra and Bracho “are asymptomatic and feel great,” Lovullo said. “They’re in the protocol, they’re doing what they can, taking care of what they can at home and healing up.”
While Buchanan noted that these aren’t new tests, it isn’t clear if Guerra or Bracho was one of the unknown players within the organization who tested positive last month. Since a positive test comes with a mandatory quarantine period of at least two weeks, the timing of the tests will factor into when the two hurlers will be able to return to the field. If they remain asymptomatic, Guerra and Bracho will each have to deliver two negative COVID-19 tests before being cleared for Summer Camp.
Less than a week after being non-tendered by the Brewers last December, Guerra signed a one-year deal with the D’Backs worth $2.65MM in guaranteed money, and the club holds an option on his services for the 2021 season. The 35-year-old posted a 3.55 ERA, 2.14 K/BB rate, and 8.3 K/9 over 83 2/3 innings in 2019, working exclusively as a reliever for the first time in his career. Assuming a full recovery from COVID-19, Guerra is expected to provide the D’Backs with a durable bullpen arm, and his ability to chew innings will be particularly useful in a shortened season as starting pitchers get back up to speed.
Bracho’s participation in the 2020 season was already up in the air, as it was revealed last week that he had suffered a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and had been placed on Arizona’s 60-day injured list. Bracho underwent his surgery in March 2019, so it is particularly unfortunate that this setback cropped up just as the right-hander would have been aiming to be ready for Opening Day. Bracho posted a 4.67 ERA, 2.82 K/BB rate, and 9.4 K/9 over 88 2/3 relief innings for the Diamondbacks from 2015-18, with the 2018 campaign showing promising career bests for Bracho in both ERA (3.19) and HR/9 (0.6) over 31 innings pitched.