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Our Noticias, 7/6/20: Unexplained absences; 2020 schedule; MiLB affiliate updates

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What to know about the state of the Marlins with Opening Day only 18 days away.

MLB: Miami Marlins-Workouts Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Early Marlins Summer Camp takeaways

Marlins baseball isn’t fully back until the club travels north to Philly for Opening Day later this month, but the first three days of official Summer Training workouts have been plenty satisfying to follow.

The new COVID-19-related protocols dramatically change the experience for all involved. Craig Mish explained it from the media’s perspective on the latest Swings and Mishes episode. Manager Don Mattingly finds himself occasionally shifting his attention away from the field to make sure players and staff are in compliance.

Twitter is still buzzing about the long home run that outfielder Monte Harrison blasted off Caleb Smith during live batting practice on Saturday. (Miguel Rojas also went deep against Smith.)

The Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson spent as much time at these workouts over the holiday weekend as anybody. He reports that Lewis Brinson, Jazz Chisholm and Matt Joyce are the only members of the Marlins Park training group who weren’t on the field during any of those three days. The club declined to provide details about their absences, raising suspicions that they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Brinson and Chisholm both stayed in South Florida during the baseball stoppage, while Joyce returned to his family in the Tampa area. The general populations in those communities have seen sharp increases in new cases in recent weeks.

Chisholm wasn’t an Opening Day roster candidate and Joyce is locked into a platoon/pinch-hitting role regardless, but this shortened season has massive implications for Brinson’s career. He failed to live up to his top prospect pedigree the last two seasons (.189/.238/.294, 44 wRC+, -2.7 fWAR) and will be on a short leash in 2020 considering the excellent potential that the next wave of Marlins outfield prospects are showing.

To be perfectly clear, Fish Stripes has not confirmed whether any of them tested positive. President of baseball operations Michael Hill announced that there were four total infected players—that means at least one had been assigned to train at the alternate site in Jupiter. The Marlins do not anticipate using the injured list for any of these cases, hopeful that all players should be recovered and cleared to return in time for the start of the season.

Alex Contreras was at Marlins Park on Sunday and Alex Krutchik summarized the conference call featuring Mattingly, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Vincent. Krutchik will handle ballpark coverage on Tuesday, followed by Hector Rodriguez on Wednesday.

Fallout from canceled minor league season

Despite missing out on their entire 2020 season, Double-A Jacksonville owner Ken Babby has committed to keeping his entire full-time staff intact. The Jumbo Shrimp have held creative socially distanced events at their ballpark to prevent revenue from completely drying up, plus Babby credits the team’s main corporate partners for renewing their sponsorships for 2021.

On the other end of the spectrum, fans of the Short Season A Batavia Muckdogs are bracing for the worst, as Sean Kirst of The Buffalo News explains. The team was rejuvenated in 2019 by various facility improvements and a talented roster of Marlins prospects en route to a playoff berth. Nonetheless, most members of the New-York Penn League are expected to be contracted under the new Professional Baseball Agreement.

Batavia has had a MiLB affiliation since 1939. It’s been part of the Marlins organization since 2013.

Walk-off links

  • Old friend Justin Bour continues to be the everyday first baseman for Japan’s Hanshin Tigers. He has posted a .234/.302/.383 slash line through 14 games, including two home runs.
  • We are still accepting your 2020 predictions, including Marlins breakout player, most valuable player and biggest disappointment.