ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves four-time All-Star Freddie Freeman, premier reliever Will Smith and two teammates have examined constructive for the coronavirus, a jarring hit to the NL East champions lower than three weeks earlier than the beginning of the pandemic-delayed season.
“It will likely be some time earlier than we will get him again,” supervisor Brian Snitker stated Saturday about Freeman.
Snitker stated the 4 gamers, together with right-hander Touki Toussaint and infielder Pete Kozma, agreed to have the crew disclose their constructive assessments.
Snitker stated Freeman had a destructive consumption take a look at early within the week earlier than having a constructive take a look at on Friday. Snitker stated the primary baseman has a fever and “shouldn’t be feeling nice.”
Main League Baseball has scheduled the 60-game season to begin on July 23. Freeman is the most important star within the sport thus far to have his constructive virus take a look at publicly introduced by his crew.
The 30-year-old Freeman set profession highs with 38 residence runs and 121 RBIs final season to assist Atlanta win its second straight NL East title. He positioned fourth within the NL MVP voting in 2018 after hitting .309 with 23 homers and profitable a Gold Glove.
Snitker stated considerations will stay even after the 4 gamers return to exercises.
“Guys have gotten it greater than as soon as,” Snitker stated. “We’re going to must watch out all 12 months and it’s going to be the brand new regular for the subsequent three months.”
Snitker stated it was essential for baseball and society to know even one of many recreation’s largest stars can take a look at constructive.
“It sobers everyone up that that is actual,” Snitker stated. “… It reveals that this can be a actual deal and nobody is resistant to it.”
MLB and the gamers’ affiliation introduced Friday that 31 gamers and 7 workers members had examined constructive for COVID-19, a fee of 1.2 p.c. Snitker stated he was shocked the numbers weren’t increased.
One other four-time All-Star, Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, had been baseball’s largest star to check constructive earlier than Freeman.
Snitker additionally stated first base coach Eric Younger Sr., 53, has opted out of for the season because of considerations in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Braves started their summer time exercises at Truist Park on Friday and continued Saturday with solely small teams on the sector collectively and makes an attempt made to follow social distancing.
Atlanta signed Smith, an All-Star with the Giants final season, to a three-year, $39 million deal in November.
Snitker stated Smith and Toussaint don’t have any signs. He stated Kozma, who’s working with prime minor leaguers on the crew’s Triple-A Gwinnett facilty, has a fever.
DeMarlo Hale, who had been a particular assistant with the crew, will fill in for Younger to educate outfielders and function the primary base coach.
“I applaud EY,” Snitker stated. “It was a troublesome determination for him. He’s an outdated gamer and we’ll miss him dearly for what he brings inside this clubhouse and his power and every thing.”
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