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Mariners don’t tender deals to Tim Beckham, Domingo Santana

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SEATTLE — The Mariners did not offer 2020 contracts to infielder Tim Beckham and outfielder Domingo Santana on Monday, making them free agents.

Beckham, who turns 30 in January, was suspended 80 games in August after testing positive for the banned performance-enhancing drug Stanozolol and missed Seattle’s final 48 games. Beckham appeared in 88 games with Seattle and hit .237 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs. The suspension cost him about $500,000 of his $1.75 million base salary.

Santana had a promising start to last season before injuries started to limit his playing time. He appeared in 121 games and hit .253 with 21 homers and 69 RBIs. But following the All-Star break, Santana appeared in just 31 games and hit .128. Santana had a $1.95 million salary.

Both Santana and Beckham would have been eligible for arbitration.

Game notes
INF Patrick Wisdom‘s one-year deal, announced Wednesday, calls for a $600,000 salary while in the major leagues and $150,000 while in the minors.

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White Sox pitching coach concerned about Michael Kopech

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Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper says he is concerned about right-hander Michael Kopech, who recently opted out of the upcoming 2020 season.

Kopech, 24, missed the entire 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery but was expected to contend for a spot in Chicago’s rotation this year. He has publicly discussed his anxiety and depression, which Cooper cited Saturday in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I don’t know what is going on with Michael, but I know he deals with some anxiety and depression, and my thought is, I sure hope he’s OK,” Cooper told the Sun-Times. “And I hope he gets to where he needs to be, where he’s feeling good and wants to come back, because we will welcome him back with open arms.”

Kopech also missed the start of summer camp earlier this month because of what the White Sox called a personal matter.

“Last time I saw him in spring training, he was in a great place,” Cooper told the Sun-Times. “But let me put it this way: I sure hope the kid is OK. I’m concerned that he’s not OK.”

Kopech, who touched 100 mph during spring training this past March, has not made any public comments about his decision to opt out of the season.

The White Sox did not announce Friday whether Kopech has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to the virus, with general manager Rick Hahn saying in a statement that “reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive.”

“Michael has been pretty open and available to [the media] on a lot of tough topics, but he’s not in the mood to talk right now,” Cooper told the Sun-Times. “When Michael is ready to talk, then you are going to get the real deal.”

White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon also expressed support for Kopech.

“It’s Michael’s decision, and we have no idea what’s going on in his world, and as a team, we support him 100 percent,” Rodon told the paper. “It’s a tough loss. He’s a guy who can boost our rotation or wherever he would line up in the row of arms. But looking forward to having him back next year.”

Kopech, who made four starts in 2018 before suffering the elbow injury, was a key part of the five-player trade that sent All-Star pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox after the 2016 season.

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Yoenis Cespedes says he’ll be ready to start season with Mets

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NEW YORK — Yoenis Cespedes is sure he’ll be ready to start the pandemic-delayed season with the New York Mets.

Out of the lineup for almost two years, the 34-year-old slugger said Saturday he finally is close to fully recovered from a string of injuries to his feet and legs.

“I don’t have an exact percentage on how I feel, but I feel way better than I did back in March,” Cespedes said through a translator on a video conference call.

When the coronavirus outbreak halted spring training on March 12 and pushed back Opening Day about four months, that gave Cespedes more time to rehab and heal up.

He said he woke up at 5 a.m. for workouts seven days a week during the hiatus.

“I think possibly in the beginning in March I felt like I probably wouldn’t have been ready for the season, I wouldn’t have been ready in time,” Cespedes said. “But I know for certain now that I will be ready and I’m very excited for the season to start in two weeks.”

The Mets open at home on July 24 against Atlanta. And with the designated hitter available in the National League this year, Cespedes is a prime candidate for that role during a shortened schedule of 60 games.

The two-time All-Star outfielder missed last season and most of 2018. He had surgery on both heels and then broke his right ankle in a nasty fall at his Florida ranch in a reported run-in with a wild boar.

Cespedes said at spring training in February that he expected to return this year, and he’s looked healthy and dangerous in the batter’s box since summer camp opened July 3 at Citi Field.

He cracked a two-run homer off Seth Lugo during an intrasquad game Thursday. But rather than trot around the bases after the ball cleared the fence, Cespedes simply walked back to the dugout.

It seems his only remaining hurdle is showing he can sprint full speed without issue.

“I’ve been able to start running close to as normal as possible, and I think that’s been the biggest stride,” Cespedes said. “Just the way that my body feels now, it’s been great.”

Late last month, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said the team was optimistic Cespedes would be ready for the season. Van Wagenen also noted Cespedes is a five-tool athlete and won’t necessarily be limited to DH duty if healthy.

The left fielder is entering the final season of a four-year contract.

“The way that my body’s feeling right now and the way that I’ve been able to run, I feel so much better and I feel like I’ll be able to play the outfield if that comes up,” he said.

Cespedes hasn’t played since July 20, 2018 — his only major league game after May 13 that year.

“To be honest, I’m not out here to prove anything to anyone. I’m out here to prove something to myself — that after three surgeries that I can come back and play the way that I know that I can,” he said.

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Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman tests positive for coronavirus

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New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for the coronavirus, manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Saturday.

Chapman has mild symptoms, according to Boone.

“[Zack Britton] naturally could fill the [closer] role,” Boone said. “Britt would be a natural guy [to close games] if Chappy is not able to go.”

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