Cubs

Rays player gets hit by pitch, faints on the field

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Rays player gets hit by pitch, faints on the field

From Comcast SportsNet
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A scary situation involving Tampa Bay second baseman Will Rhymes overshadowed another strong outing by Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. Rhymes left in the eighth inning of the Rays' 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night after being hit by a pitch near his right elbow. While standing at first base he gestured that he wanted to come out of the game, took a couple of steps and collapsed into the arms of first base coach George Hendrick. Trainers worked on Rhymes in the coach's box before he was assisted to a utility cart and left the field. The Rays said Rhymes briefly fainted, but that he is fine, remained at the ballpark for X-rays on his arm and was not taken a hospital. "He got kind of rubber-legged right there," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That stuff hurts. I know it's in the arm, but that can definitely take your breath away. It was described to me as kind of an adrenalin rush that caused that reaction." X-rays were negative and the team said Rhymes is day to day with a bruised right forearm. Hellickson pitched six solid innings and Luke Scott had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly as Tampa Bay snapped the Red Sox's five-game winning streak. "Hellickson's change up made that fastball look like it's a 100 (mph)," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. Hellickson (4-0) allowed one run and five hits en route to winning a career-best sixth consecutive decision, dating to Sept. 4. He struck out six and walked two. After Jake McGee and Joel Peralta both threw a scoreless inning, Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 12th save. Clay Buchholz (4-2) gave up two runs and six hits over five-plus innings for Boston. Buchholz, who took a grounder off his foot during the sixth, had allowed four or more runs in all seven of his previous starts this season. "No," said Buchholz when asked if the foot was an issue. "I think it was more after I came out. It's a little sore. It's nothing (to worry about)." Matt Joyce opened the sixth with an infield single that went off Buchholz's leg. He went to third on a single by Carlos Pena. Andrew Miller replaced Buchholz and gave up Scott's sacrifice fly that put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1. Red Sox right fielder Cody Ross appeared to have problems with the roof on Scott's shallow fly. "I wasn't really planning on going until I saw Cody Ross kind of backpedal," Joyce said. "The Trop can be tough sometimes for outfielders. It's hard to see the ball when you're not used to it. He started backpedaling. As an outfielder, I know it's hard to get a lot on your throw and make a really good throw when you're on the heels of your feet and backpedaling. I took a shot and it worked out." The Rays, winners of four straight, loaded the bases with two outs later in the sixth, but Miller struck out Elliot Johnson on a 3-2 pitch. Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the second when Buchholz was called for a balk on a pickoff move to first with runners on the corners and two outs. Pena, who had a leadoff single, scored on the play. "I was going to go third to first, and my cleat sort of got caught," Buchholz said. The Red Sox wound up with three balks overall. "Crazy," Valentine said. Daniel Nava's fourth-inning RBI single got Boston even at 1-all. Valentine said left-hander Felix Doubront, who was hit on the ear by a ball during batting practice Tuesday, was cleared to make his start Thursday. Meanwhile, Boston left-hander Rich Hill left the field after being struck by a ball in batting practice before Wednesday night's game. The team said Hill is OK. NOTES: Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey (right thumb) is set to resume throwing next week. ... Boston 3B Kevin Youkilis (lower back) started a rehab assignment as the DH with Triple-A Pawtucket and could play in the field Friday. ... Valentine doesn't believe RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (right elbow), scheduled to start for Pawtucket Thursday, is close to pitching in the majors. ... Rays 3B Evan Longoria (left hamstring) took batting practice, but has not started running. ... Red Sox LF Carl Crawford (left wrist) could start swinging a bat next week. ... The Rays acquired OF Rich Thompson from Philadelphia for minor league OF Kyle Hudson.

Why Cubs, rest of baseball sweat as MLB battles coronavirus testing issues

Why Cubs, rest of baseball sweat as MLB battles coronavirus testing issues

It was never going to be perfect.

But Major League Baseball’s coronavirus testing system needs to be good enough.

That may not seem like an especially high bar to set.

But so far it has been a difficult one for baseball to clear.

In fact, the latest example of baseball's biggest challenge in pulling off a 60-game season played out at Wrigley Field on Monday. That's when the team that by all indications has done the best job of establishing and following safe practices had its manager and five other “Tier 1” members of the organization sit out activities “out of an abundance of caution” because their latest COVID-19 tests, from Saturday, remained “pending.”

Tier 1, by the way, comprises the 80-something members of the organization with the highest access, including players and coaches.

The results had been analyzed. But as pitching coach Tommy Hottovy explained, they appeared to be in a batch of samples that included at least one positive test, the batch involving multiple teams. So they were retested. Five of those retested samples, including manager David Ross’, were negative, the team said late Monday, with the sixth considered “compromised” and another test done.

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The sixth did not belong to a player.

Give the Cubs another gold star for getting through yet another round of tests — and yet another glitch in that process — without having a player test positive.

But give MLB another kick in the ass. The testing issues don’t seem to be as bad as they were throughout the league that first holiday weekend of processing. But it hasn’t fixed this thing yet, either.

Whether it’s a lab-capacity issue, a quality issue or a shipping issue, it’s not even close to good enough.

Not for 30 teams barely a week from leaving their individual training-site bubbles to start playing each other for two months. Not when more than one-third of those teams play in locales considered hot spots for the pandemic. Not in the world’s most infected country.

“We do feel comfortable in this bubble that we’ve kind of created here,” said Hottovy, who was hit hard by the virus for a month before camp started. “When the season starts though and we start traveling and we start putting ourselves in some different circumstances, we just don’t know what to expect with that.

“We’re still taking this day-to-day for sure.”

Players across baseball, including Cubs star Kris Bryant, said they were upset and surprised at how unprepared MLB’s testing system appeared to be when camps opened. Two weeks of testing later, and just enough issues persist to make the league’s entire 2020 undertaking look more tenuous than ever.

The season starts July 23. That’s not much time to get it “good enough” — never mind to get it right. But, again, we're not asking for perfection.

The league protocols require testing thousands of players and other team personnel every other day through the end of the season.

Imagine sitting a manager and three or four players from a single team on a game day because of “pending” or “compromised” test results. Imagine that happening two or three times a week to various teams. Or worse — imagine a given team doesn’t exercise “an abundance of caution” and puts the players or staff in question on the field or in the dugout and clubhouse anyway.

“The only concern that I have right now is how long the test will take to get the results back,” Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said on Thursday. “Other than that, I don’t think I am at risk inside of the ballpark because the Cubs have been doing the best they can to keep us safe in here."

“I don’t have any concerns about my teammates, because I trust them. I know we all are doing our best to keep [each other] safe, and that way we can have a season this year.”

Contreras expressed tolerance with the system so far and was reluctant to point a finger at MLB or anyone else.

“But how can that get better?” he said. “I have no answer for that.”

It doesn’t matter whose fault it is as much as it matters that an answer is found quickly.

Players, staff and their families already have taken on the daily stress and anxiety of this health risk and the every-other-day process of holding your breath until the next result comes in.

“You get that test day coming up when you might get results, and it’s a little bit of that unknown, a little bit of anxiety of, ‘Have I done everything right?’ “ Ross said. “You start running back the day since you’ve been tested and what you’ve done, where you’ve gone, who you’ve been in contact with, just in case something bad may come back on your test. It’s real.”

Thirteen players, including Giants star Buster Posey, already have declined to play this season, all but one without a pre-existing condition that would qualify as “high risk” under the agreement between players and management.

Angels superstar Mike Trout heads a list of several more who have talked openly about opting out at some point, depending on how things look as we get closer to games.

That includes Cubs starter Yu Darvish, who said Sunday, “I still have concerns” and that he has not ruled out heading home if he doesn’t feel it’s safe anymore for him or his family to keep playing.

Maybe Trout, Darvish, Posey and the rest of those players have the right idea.

In fact, maybe we’d all be better off if baseball rededicated its testing capacity to a general public that suddenly is facing shortages again in a growing number of hot spots.

But if baseball is going to stick to its plan and try to pull off this season, then it needs to get this right. Right now.

Nobody’s expecting anything great at this point. Maybe not even especially good. But good enough? In the next week or so?

Would that be too much to ask?

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Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw announces he plans to return for 2020-21 season

Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw announces he plans to return for 2020-21 season

Andrew Shaw issued a statement on Instagram late Monday night, announcing he will not join the Blackhawks for the 2019-20 restart as he continues to work his way back from a concussion.

But the 28-year-old winger also revealed he plans on returning for the 2020-21 season and looks forward to coming back "better and stronger than ever!" 

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Here's the full statement, which has been lightly edited for clarity:

I just wanted to let all Blackhawks fans and hockey fans know that I am doing well and getting better every day! I feel healthy and am close to fully being healed from not just my last concussion but from others I have had over the years.

I've learned a lot about concussions and head injuries over the past few years thanks to the Blackhawks medical staff of Dr. Mike Terry, Mike Gapski, Jeff Thomas and Patrick Becker. They have helped me in more ways than I can thank them. I love them dearly for doing so because I am the type of person who would play through anything for my teammates.

With all that being said, along with my family who has shown me so much support, we have come to the difficult decision that these extra five months until next season would be great for my health and recovery. I look forward to being back next season, better and stronger than ever! There's nothing I would love more than to be back out on the ice with the boys battling for Lord Stanley.

I'll be cheering my teammates on and supporting the Blackhawks through this run! Love you boys and miss you like crazy!

View this post on Instagram

Go Blackhawks Go! Hey fans!

A post shared by Andrew Shaw (@shawz65) on

Shaw, who has two years left on his contract after this season, has a history of head injuries and last appeared in a game on Nov. 30. The NHL's tentative plan is to start next season on Dec. 1.