Photo: Doug GrayCatching up on the Reds, and minor league notes from the weekend Doug Gray March 16, 2020 2 Comments Even though Major League Baseball has been shut down for a few days, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t baseball news taking place over the weekend. When it comes specifically to Cincinnati Reds news, there’s really only want thing that took place: The Reds optioned catcher Tyler Stephenson and right-handed pitcher Jose De Leon to Triple-A Louisville. It’s tough to make much sense as to why that’s happening while For Tyler Stephenson, technically this ends his spring training – though the shutdown effectively did that for everyone. But the top catching prospect in the organization was taking full advantage of his opportunity to show everyone in big league camp what he was capable of. In his 12 games played, Stephenson hit .375/.500/.750. That game with four extra-base hits, four walks, and just one strikeouts in 22 trips to the plate. He also drove in seven runs. For Jose De Leon, the right-handed pitcher only pitched in three games. Those three outings only covered 2.2 total innings where he allowed two runs on two hits, one hit batter, and two walks. De Leon also had four strikeouts among the 13 batters that he faced. Operations in the Dominican Republic Evan Drellich of The Athletic shared a memo from Major League Baseball to the 30 teams, advising them of what they must offer players at this moment in time. One of the sections of that memo was about the academies in the Dominican Republic. Here’s what it says: Effective Immediately, clubs should reduce the number of players in their facilities in the Dominican Republic by sending home players who have a convenient and safe place to remain during the hiatus, including players on non-urgent treatment plans that can be followed with the support of remote communication with medical staff. We recognize that it may not be feasible or prudent for all players to return home, including players from Venezuela or players who may not receive adequate support or medical care. By having some players return home, however, clubs may be able to accommodate in their academy other players, including players currently in the U.S.m who have no viable options. Club medical personnel should check on players who have returned home on a regular basis, and should inform players that they must tell the club if they have experienced any symptoms of the virus. Until further notice, clubs may not schedule any group practices or workouts at their Dominican academies, and should immediately implement hygiene and social distancing protocols, to the extent feasible. Now, there’s a bit to unfold here, but perhaps the most important part here is what’s not specifically outlined here but one that all teams are aware of. If you’ll notice the name of Venezuela being singled out – there’s a reason for that. The country has essentially cut off all air travel into the country. Emily Waldon of The Athletic reported late on Saturday night that players from an unnamed American League organization who were trying to get home were stranded in Panama after their connecting flight landed and they were told that they could no longer fly into Venezuela. The players had to return. I can’t speak to how all of the Dominican academies work. But when C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic traveled to the Reds academy we got a good insight as to how theirs is set up. There are two buildings at the complex, renovated in 2015. The first building houses the team’s offices, including offices for Peralta and Joel Noboa, the team’s Latin America field and hitting coordinator. There’s also a coaches meeting room, a lobby, the locker rooms, a cafeteria and a video room on the first floor of the building. The second floor is the dormitories, with 10 rooms and two dorm-style bathrooms, with a capacity for 70 players. 10 rooms. Two dorm-style bathrooms. Capacity for 70 players. In the memo they are suggesting social distancing protocols. With how players are housed there, that’s next to impossible if you have the full roster there. By sending home players who can be taken care of and or take care of themselves, it makes that situation quite a bit easier with regards to social distancing (for now we won’t get into some of the side effects of possible sending players out). Yankees have a minor league test positive for COVID-19 The first baseball player under contract with a Major League Baseball organization has been confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus/COVID-19 as reported by Joel Sherman of The New York Post. The player was not named, and he was a minor league player who was not in Major League camp with the New York Yankees. Unlike things out in Arizona with the teams that have facilities there, in Florida the Major League and Minor League facilities aren’t always close. The Yankees Minor League camp is nearly a mile from their Major League camp and operations. Share this:FacebookTwitterRedditPocket 2 Responses BK March 16, 2020 Doug, there are a couple of grammar (cut/paste) errors in paragraph #1. Thanks for keeping us apprised. MK March 16, 2020 Once again The NFL is getting the best of MLB. I am getting almost hourly messages from the NFL about free agent signings. Positive messages from MLB are non-existent.