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Miami Marlins see 2B Isan Diaz opt out, acquire LHP Richard Bleier in trade

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Miami Marlins second baseman Isan Diaz is opting out of the 2020 season as his team copes with a coronavirus outbreak that developed during a season-opening trip.

At least 21 members of the Marlins’ traveling party have been infected, and the team hasn’t played since Sunday in Philadelphia.

Diaz consistently tested negative while the Marlins’ season was on hold, but he decided to become the first Miami player to opt out. He played in two of the Marlins’ three games before their season was halted.

Diaz batted .173 as a rookie last year, but the organization has big hopes regarding his potential.

While the coronavirus-ravaged Marlins will be without the services of Diaz, early Saturday morning they acquired left-handed reliever Richard Bleier for a player to be named later in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles.

Bleier went 3-0 with a 5.37 ERA and four saves in 53 games last season. This year, he’s pitched three scoreless innings in two appearances.

Although Bleier has been one of the team’s most effective pitchers out of the bullpen, the rebuilding Orioles have been shuffling their roster over the past two seasons and decided to unload the 33-year-old.

The trade was announced after midnight early Saturday morning after Baltimore beat Tampa Bay 6-3 in a game delayed nearly an hour by rain. Bleier was not used and learned of the trade after the final out.

Bleier — who grew up in Florida and pitched for Florida Gulf Coast University — said he was “definitely surprised” by the deal.

“I’m glad that I have value to another team, but at the same time this was such a comfort for me here in Baltimore and I’m going to miss it,” he said.

Bleier expressed no apprehension about pitching for a team that’s been ravaged by COVID-19.

“Hopefully, everything is under control and I’m not going into a situation that’s unsafe,” he said. “But it’s definitely something that I’m aware of. No, I’m not overly concerned. They’re not going to bring me somewhere there’s going to be a problem.”

The Marlins had no new positive tests as of Saturday morning, according to ESPN and a report.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Cincinnati Reds player tests positive for coronavirus

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A Cincinnati Reds player has tested positive for the coronavirus, sources confirmed to ESPN, and ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Saturday night’s scheduled game against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates is likely to be postponed.

The Athletic first reported that a Reds player had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Reds beat the Pirates 8-1 on Friday in the second game of a scheduled four-game series.

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Gerrit Cole posts 20th straight regular-season win as Yankees beat Red Sox

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NEW YORK — Gerrit Cole posted his 20th straight regular-season win over his last 27 starts dating to last season, becoming the sixth pitcher to ever reach the mark by throwing seven sharp innings to lead the New York Yankees over the Boston Red Sox 10-3 Friday night.

A noted Yankees fan growing up in Southern California, Cole (4-0) allowed one run and four hits in his first taste of the storied rivalry in front of empty seats. He struck out eight, walked none and threw 95 pitches.

Cole, who came within one strike of a win in his previous start before getting pulled, moved closer to the all-time record of 24 consecutive victories by Carl Hubbell in 1936-37. Roy Face is next at 22, followed by Roger Clemens, Jake Arrieta, Rube Marquard and Cole at 20 each.

Cole’s only defeat since May 2019 was in the World Series opener last year, when he pitched for Houston and lost to Washington.

The Yankees improved to 7-0 at home for the fourth time since 1959 (also 2017, 1998 and 1987). New York also beat Boston for the seventh straight time and is 12-1 at home against the Red Sox since the start of last season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Nationals bring up prospect Luis Garcia, place Starlin Castro on IL

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BALTIMORE — The Washington Nationals are ready to find out if 20-year-old infielder Luis Garcia has the poise and talent to play in the big leagues.

The Nationals selected Garcia’s contract on Friday, a move that coincided with infielder Starlin Castro being placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right wrist. Garcia was in the starting lineup for Washington, prepared to make his major league debut against the Orioles.

Garcia is considered to be one of the top prospects in the minor league system of the defending World Series champion Nationals. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, the slick-fielding middle infielder has hit .281 with 51 doubles, 13 triples, 12 homers and 106 RBIs in 305 career minor league games.

In 2019, Garcia was named the Nationals’ minor league defensive player of the year with Double-A Harrisburg, where he played shortstop and second base. As a 19-year-old, he was the youngest player in the Eastern League.

Also on Friday, the Nationals transferred lefty Sam Freeman to the 60-day injured list with a left flexor mass strain.

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