LEADING OFF: COVID-19 sidelines more players, Webb on a roll

Sports

Boston Red Sox’s Kiké Hernandez flips his bat after striking out during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

A look at what’s happening around the majors Saturday:

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NEGATIVE NEWS

Red Sox infielder Kiké Hernández tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and will be sidelined indefinitely.

Manager Alex Cora said Hernández is experiencing symptoms. He’ll be placed on the COVID-19 list along with second baseman Christian Arroyo, who had close contact with Hernández. Cora expects both to miss “an extended period of time.” Boston is in the thick of a postseason race as it continues a three-game series against Cleveland.

Meanwhile, the Phillies placed pitcher Zach Eflin, catcher Andrew Knapp and infielder-outfielder Luke Williams on the COVID-19 IL and delayed Friday night’s game by 26 minutes to allow for contact tracing. Knapp had been in the lineup but was replaced by J.T. Realmuto about 45 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.

WEBB GEMS

Giants right-hander Logan Webb takes a 12-start unbeaten streak into an outing against Atlanta in a showdown of division leaders. Webb hasn’t lost since May 5, going 6-0 with a 1.63 ERA in 12 outings.

He’ll face emerging young right-hander Huascar Ynoa (4-3, 2.89), who is 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA in two starts since breaking his right hand in May punching a bench.

WELCOME BACK

The Astros have signed versatile Marwin Gonzalez to a minor league contract, seeing if the 32-year-old can help his former club. He was cut by Boston two weeks ago.

Gonzalez played for Houston from 2012-18, starting games at every infield and outfield position. His best year was 2017, when he hit .303 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs as the scandal-tained Astros won the World Series.

Gonzalez batted just .202 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 77 games for the Red Sox this season. He played the previous two years with Minnesota.

Manager Dusty Baker said the AL West-leading Astros got Gonzalez “to see what he brings to the table” and see if there is a fit.

KOOZ NEWS

The Mets will retire pitcher Jerry Koosman’s uniform No. 36 before their game against Washington at Citi Field.

The 78-year-old Koosman is the top-winning lefty in team history with 140. His most famous victory came in the clinching Game 5 of the 1969 World Series against Baltimore that gave the Miracle Mets their first championship.

Koosman will become the third Mets player to have his number retired by the club, along with Tom Seaver’s 41 and Mike Piazza’s 31. The team also has retired a pair of numbers for managers, Gil Hodges’ 14 and Casey Stengel’s 37.

A two-time All-Star, Koosman pitched for the Mets from 1967-1978.

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