Outfielder Socrates Brito and right-hander Blake Cederlind have both tested positive for the coronavirus, Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters (including Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The two players consented to be informed they have positive tests, though Shelton didn’t provide further information on their condition, saying only “there are various other things that they need to do medically before they could get back on the field.”
League rules dictate that Brito and Cederlind will soon be in quarantine for two weeks, and must then be symptom-free and test negative on two split up tests before rejoining their teammates. While health is obviously the initial and foremost concern in this situation, the two-week hiatus will make it harder for either Brito or Cederlind to make the Bucs’ Opening Day roster, though Mackey notes that “neither Cederlind nor Brito was expected to begin the 2020 season with the big club.”
Brito signed a minor league deal with Pittsburgh over the cold temperatures, culminating a 2019 that saw him belong to four different companies (Diamondbacks, Padres, Blue Jays, and finally the Pirates) within the twelve months. Brito did suit up for 17 games last season, all with Toronto, managing just a .291 OPS and 17 strikeouts over 43 plate appearances. The 27-year-old has only a .179/.216/.309 slash line over 218 career PA at the Major League level, though he has set up some good numbers in the minors and will play all three outfield positions.
Cederlind was a fifth-round pick for the Pirates in the 2016 draft, and ranks 28th on MLB Pipeline’s list of the most notable 30 Pittsburgh minor leaguer. He didn’t produce much over his first three pro seasons, though Mackey notes that Cederlind’s fortunes changed after turning his 100mph fastball right into a sinker — the right-hander had a combined 2.28 ERA, 8.3 K/9, and 2.29 K/BB rate over 59 1/3 combined innings at the high-A, Double-A, and Triple-A levels in 2019. This performance put him on the radar as a potential callup at some point in the 2020 season, because the rebuilding Pirates can afford to provide looks to any promising youngster.