SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants prospect Hunter Bishop was left off the club’s initial 51-man player pool on Monday after testing positive for COVID-19 in Arizona on Friday.
Bishop, the Giants’ 2019 first-round Draft pick, had been expected to report to Oracle Park this week alongside fellow top prospects Joey Bart, Marco Luciano and Heliot Ramos, but his diagnosis will now cause him to miss the beginning of training camp. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Bishop exhibited “very mild” symptoms and is improving.
The 22-year-old outfielder was not training at the Giants’ facilities in Scottsdale and has not come into contact with any other players or staff. Bishop will be required to quarantine for two weeks and will not be allowed to return to the Giants until he tests negative twice. The Giants have nine open spots in their player pool, so they could still choose to bring Bishop to training camp once he’s healthy and clears all the necessary protocols.
“I talked to Hunter yesterday,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He's in Arizona. He's going to stay there for now and obviously do nothing for the next 14 days. He's in good spirits.”
Bishop, who is ranked the club’s No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, posted an .827 OPS with four home runs over 25 games at the Giants’ Class A Short-Season affiliate in Salem-Keizer last year. He is not expected to make his Major League debut in 2020, but by adding him to their player pool, the Giants could ensure that he continues to advance his development by getting competitive reps this summer.
Social distancing at the ballpark
The Giants’ entire player pool will initially work out at Oracle Park once training camp opens on Friday, as the club is still in the process of finalizing plans to hold its alternative training site at its Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. Once that secondary site is up and running, players who aren’t in the mix for the Opening Day roster will likely be dispatched there and continue to stay sharp by staging intrasquad games throughout the summer.
Kapler said the Giants plan to stagger workouts at Oracle Park and scatter players around the ballpark to comply with social distancing guidelines. New batting cages and bullpen mounds will be set up behind the center-field wall, and a weight room will be moved outside to the player parking lot, where there will also be a turfed area for infield drills. Team meetings will be held outdoors as much as possible.
“We're going to try to utilize every nook and cranny of the ballpark to keep players distanced and away from each other,” Kapler said. “And then the times that we're going to come together will be outside on the field, on the main diamond.”
• No Giants players have informed the club that they are planning to opt out of the season thus far. Zaidi said an internal review determined that most players and staff are considered low to moderate risk. On Monday, Mike Leake of the D-backs and Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross of the Nationals became the first players to announce that they would elect not to play this season.
• Five healthy players on the 40-man roster were omitted from the Giants’ initial player pool: Melvin Adon, Jandel Gustave, Chris Shaw, Kean Wong and José Siri. As with Bishop, the Giants will still have the option to add them to their player pool down the line.
• Kapler said he believes the Giants will use a rotation of players at designated hitter this season, with Alex Dickerson, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Darin Ruf among the candidates to fill that spot.
“I don't think we're going to have a traditional everyday DH,” Kapler said. “I think we'll use that spot to get players off their feet. ... If you look at our roster, we've got plenty of options both left and right to slot into that DH role.”
• Zaidi said he has had conversations with the A’s about scheduling “at least a couple of games” as part of their preparation for the 2020 season. MLB announced Monday that teams will be allowed to hold up to three exhibition games before Opening Day.