MLB scrimmage contests are on national television, and Opening Day is less than a week away. We bring you news from the final weekend before the start of the regular season.
Blue Jays Scrambling to Find Ballpark
According to the Candian government, the Toronto Blue Jays were informed that the team could not play its home games in Toronto. The federal government does not feel it is safe for players to be traveling back and forth between Canada and the United States, given the State’s current coronavirus crisis.
The Blue Jays do have some backup options, including their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida. Florida is currently one of the states hit hardest by the virus. Another option, one closer to Toronto, is the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliates ballpark in Buffalo, New York.
Toronto opens the season on July 24 on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays. The home opener for the Blue Jays was scheduled for five days later against the Washington Nationals.
The Blue Jays were given the ‘okay’ by city and provincial government agencies to play in the Rogers Centre but still needed approval from the Candian federal government. All 29 other MLB teams plan to play their home games inside their home ballparks across the United States. The 60-game season will be played without spectators in attendance.
Freddie Freeman Details COVID-19 Experience
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman recently rejoined the team after battling the coronavirus. The four-time All-Star returned to the team on Friday after his second negative test for the virus.
Freeman said that at one point during his battle, his temperature spiked to 104.5 degrees during the night. He said in a statement that his body had never been that hot in his life and that he said a prayer for his life.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, Freeman said that it was his ninth consecutive day without showing any symptoms. Both his wife and aunt also tested positive for the virus.
Freeman reported to Braves camp on Friday and was eager to get back to work with his teammates. The Braves plan to give Freeman as many bats as possible before the start, even if he is not quite ready to play during the first week of action.
Giolito Gets Opening Day Nod
Rick Renteria announced his squad’s Opening Day starter in a unique fashion on Friday. The Chicago White Sox manager relied on a Lucas Giolito bobblehead to announce Giolito getting the nod as the team’s starter.
Giolito, a former top MLB prospect, was a first-time All-Start last season after battling injures early on in his career. The 26-year old finished the 2019 campaign with a 14-9 record, and 3.41 earned run average. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 228 batters over just 176.2 innings pitched and was sixth in the American League Cy Young voting.
The White Sox are scheduled to face the Minnesota Twins on Friday in Chicago. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 EST.