Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that Astros pitchers were held out of Sunday’s workout at Minute Maid Park. Pitching coach Brent Strom, who is 71 years old, was also absent. The Astros cancelled Saturday’s full workout after a staff member was possibly exposed to someone from outside the organization who tested positive for COVID-19. The pitchers were tested again for the virus.
As Rome notes, the Astros have already had two workouts cancelled and the pitchers are currently awaiting results on the most recent round of tests. Additionally, third baseman Alex Bregman has missed some workouts due to a delay in the processing of his COVID-19 testing.
While it is ironic to be discussing this about the Astros of all teams, the incongruity of testing is creating a competitive advantage for some teams and a disadvantage for others. Testing delays have also impacted the Nationals, Athletics, and Angels. As “summer camp” lasts only three weeks compared to the usual six weeks of spring training, every cancelled workout and every individual held out of action while he awaits testing results will have an impact on teams’ readiness for the regular season.
The Astros will open the regular season at home against the Mariners on July 24. The pitching matchup will likely feature Justin Verlander versus Marco Gonzales.