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Saturday May 8th, 2021 12:14PM

LEADING OFF: Altuve has virus, Yelich ailing, Kazmar dropped

By The Associated Press
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A look at what's happening around the majors on Sunday:

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AILING ASTROS

Houston second baseman José Altuve says he’s tested positive for COVID-19 but hasn’t felt badly and hopes to return to the lineup soon.

The 2017 AL MVP was among five Astros who were placed on the COVID-19 list on April 14. The four other players were back on the active roster within a few days.

It’s unclear how much time Altuve will need before playin again. He said he received the first dose of one of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines before testing positive, and that he has no idea how he contracted the virus.

Altuve is hitting .318 with one homer, three doubles and five RBIs in 11 games.

Hours after Altuve spoke, Houston starter Jake Odorizzi was forced to leave after throwing only five pitches against the Angels because of tightness in his right forearm.

Odorizzi got a late start to the season after not signing with the Astros until March 8. He entered the game with an 0-2 record and 10.57 ERA in two starts this season.

An All-Star in 2019 with Minnesota, Odorizzi was looking to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2020 season when he pitched just 13 2/3 innings.

YELICH PAUSE

Star outfielder Christian Yelich is returning to Milwaukee for an MRI on his strained lower back. The 2018 NL MVP hasn’t played since April 11 and was eligible to come off the injured list this weekend against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

“We’re just at a plateau, and so we’re just trying to rule everything out and see if we can get any new bit, just another piece of information,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s frustrating for Christian.”

Yelich is batting .333 with one homer and six RBIs in nine games this season.

HOPE TO SEE YA AGAIN

The Braves sent Sean Kazmar Jr. to their alternate training site, a week after the infielder returned to the majors for the first time since 2008.

The 36-year-old Kazmar became an instant feel-good story when Atlanta brought him up to the big leagues. Kazmar hit .205 in 19 games for San Diego when he debuted 13 years ago, and had been in the minors since then.

Kazmar got into two games for Atlanta and batted just once -- he grounded into a double play against the Cubs at Wrigley Field and was a pinch-runner at Yankee Stadium.

Kazmar lost his roster spot when the Braves reinstated lefty Drew Smyly from the injured list to start Saturday night against Arizona. The game got rained out, and the Braves and Diamondbacks are now scheduled for a doubleheader.

SUNDAY NIGHT SPOTLIGHT

The Padres and Dodgers wrap up their four-game series in prime time with the seventh meeting already this season between the NL West foes.

“It’s the biggest rivalry in baseball,” San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr. said after hitting two homers in Friday night’s victory. “Everybody can feel it. Everybody can see it.”

Joe Musgrove (2-2, 1.04 ERA) is 0-2 since pitching the first no-hitter in Padres history for his hometown team April 9 at Texas. He’s coming off a career-high 13 strikeouts over seven innings Monday in a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee.

Dustin May (1-1, 2.93) gets the ball at Dodger Stadium for the defending World Series champions, who are missing injured slugger Cody Bellinger and several other regulars.

STAY AWAY

The Miami Marlins’ minor league complex in Jupiter, Florida, was shut down for the weekend after five players tested positive for COVID-19, a club spokesman said.

The stricken players were isolated. About 120 players train at the complex.

The interruption in workouts is not expected to affect the start of the season for any of the Marlins’ four full-season affiliates — the Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Class A Beloit Snappers and Class A Jupiter Hammerheads. Their seasons begin May 4.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
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