Astros have eight pitchers in COVID-19 protocols
Houston Astros pitcher Bryan Abreu Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Astros have eight pitchers in COVID-19 protocols

Per Brian McTaggart of the league's official website, the Houston Astros sent pitchers Luis Garcia, Bryan Abreu and Ronel Blanco away from the team for an unknown amount of time on Thursday due to MLB COVID-19 protocols. 

As noted by an ESPN update, Houston manager Dusty Baker added on Friday that Cristian Javier, Enoli Paredes, Hector Velazquez, Francis Martes and Pedro Baez are also in the protocols. 

The Astros haven't yet said who, among them, tested positive for COVID-19 and who were deemed high-risk close contacts.

"Part of the reason that so many players are away from camp for health and safety (protocols) is because we want to cast a wide net," Astros general manager James Click told reporters. "And the protocols cast a wide net to make sure if there are delays between contagious stages and positive test results that those don't lead to an outbreak.

"We are following Major League Baseball's health and safety protocols, and this is what they call for. We and the league believe that, by following them, we will ensure the rest of the guys are not exposed and we can continue to get ready for the season."

On Thursday, Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker scratched left-hander Max Fried from his spring training debut originally scheduled for Friday after Fried was potentially exposed to a coronavirus-infected person. 

On Feb. 26, MLB and the MLB Players Association announced that only three new players tested positive for COVID-19 over the previous testing period. It's believed they will update those numbers later on Friday. 

Houston plays both a seven-inning contest against the Miami Marlins and a five-inning "B game" versus the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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