An inside look at the MLB COVID-19 testing process


Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, coming off a 2019 season that saw him carry the heaviest workload– 213 innings pitched for Cleveland and Cincinnati– of his career, currently owns the third-best DRA (1.85) of any pitcher in the majors. His team hasn’t yet lived up to its lofty expectations, though, and it will be at least a few day before they’re allowed another opportunity to improve their record. That’s because one of Bauer’s teammates tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday night.

The Reds are the third team experiencing a positive player test requiring the postponement of games this season, and reports indicate that Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office will make an announcement about their revised schedule on Monday.

In the meantime, Bauer has taken fans inside the player-testing process with a video that shows “another day in this fake MLB season”: 

(The post-positive test portion begins at 5:20.)

It’s a little bit difficult to tell whether the various protocols and attendant uncertainties of this particular season really irritate Bauer, because there’s a lot that irritates him. The video also implies that the players and team staff know the identity of the player with the positive test. His takeaway point? “This whole thing sucks. . . . Honestly, at this point, I’m just sick of it.”

On the drive to the stadium, he brings up former teammates Zach Plesac and Mike Clevenger, both of whom now have been “optioned to the alternate training site,” 2020 MLB parlance for being sent down to the nonexistent minors, after lying to their team about their violations of COVID-19 safety rules. Bauer says he’s “not going to voice many opinions on that, except” to point out the potential service-time consequences for Clevenger. Bauer speculates that Cleveland might keep Clevenger down for exactly the number of days necessary to prevent Clevenger from earning an additional year of service time, thereby extending his arbitration period and keeping him away from free agency for another year. Bauer concludes: “Hope it was a good night, because that’s an expensive night.”

Regardless of whether you like him as a player or a person, few are doing more than Bauer to expose fans to the daily activities and thoughts of an MLB player.


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