Francisco Mejia Tests Positive For Covid-19

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The Rays announced that catcher Francisco Mejia has been placed on the Covid-related injured list after a positive test. Fellow catcher Rene Pinto was recalled to take his place on the roster.

Under the league’s 2022 health-and-safety protocols, players who test positive are subject to a 10-day absence from the club, though it’s possible to be reinstated in less time if the player has gone 24 or more hours without a fever, received a pair of negative PCR tests, and been given approval from a team physician and the MLB/MLBPA joint committee (a panel of one league-appointed and one union-appointed physician).

Acquired by the Rays as part of the deal that sent Blake Snell to the Padres, Mejia has been excellent in his time in Florida. Although he was considered one of the best prospects in baseball while in the minors, he struggled in his first tastes of the big leagues with the Indians and Padres. As a member of the Rays last year, however, he hit .260/.322/.416 for a wRC+ of 108 and 1.4 wins above replacement, in the estimation of FanGraphs. This year, he was off to a blistering start, hitting a pair of home runs in seven games and slashing .348/.333/.652, 193 wRC+.

Although that type of production would be impossible to sustain over a larger sample, it’s still a blow for the Rays to lose a hot bat. Mike Zunino will likely get the bulk of the playing time behind the dish in Mejia’s absence, though he’s started 2022 with a line of .040/.074/.080. That’s a tiny sample of eight games, however, and Zunino’s line from last year was a healthy .216/.301/.559.

Pinto, 25, was just added to the club’s 40-man roster in November and will make his MLB debut as soon as he gets into a game. In 12 Triple-A games so far this year, he’s hitting .268/.388/.341, with an excellent 16.3% walk rate in that small sample.



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