Ex-Detroit Tiger Yoenis Cespedes expects to play for New York Mets, current Detroit Tiger Daniel Norris returns after positive test in June


AP Sports Writer

Yoenis Cespedes expects to be the designated hitter for the New York Mets on Friday when they open the season against the Atlanta Braves.

It will be his first major league game in more than two years. Injuries to his feet and legs have sidelined him since July 20, 2018.

Cespedes said he’s feeling good and is confident that he’ll also play left field at some point this season. But he told reporters through a translator Tuesday that “at least for the first game, for opening day, I’ll be the DH.”

The 34-year-old slugger, an All-Star in 2014 and 2016, had surgery on both heels and then broke his right ankle in a nasty fall at his Florida ranch. Now he’s healthy and eager to help the Mets.


Norris returns

Detroit Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris returned to camp Tuesday after testing positive for the coronavirus last month.

Norris threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and is scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Thursday.

Norris said he was tested while still in Florida but didn’t receive his positive result until he arrived in Detroit for the start of camp.

He said he was taking precautions while in Florida.

“It was crazy down there. Everything was like open and semi-normal, but I wasn’t partaking in all that,” he said. “I just kind of figured I was doing enough to not get it.”

Norris said his symptoms didn’t seem major at first — he woke up sweating a bit and achy — but in retrospect, he realized those symptoms may have been more significant.

“The heavy symptoms only lasted a few days,” Norris said. “A few days after that test, I was like, ‘I feel like 100 percent.'”

He said he sent out a message to teammates telling them not to take the virus lightly.


Astros second baseman Jose Altuve bruised his left leg in Houston’s exhibition win over Kansas City on Tuesday.

The 2017 AL MVP was injured in a collision at home plate in the fourth inning of the 15-6 win that was the Astros’ last tuneup before their opener on Friday against Seattle. The team said he is listed as day to day.

Altuve hit .298 with 31 homers and 74 RBIs in 124 games last season while missing time with leg injuries.

On the mend

Masahiro Tanaka threw 20 pitches during batting practice Tuesday and is on track to miss one turn in the New York Yankees’ rotation before making his first start July 31 against Boston.

Tanaka walked two in his one inning. It was his first time facing batters since he was hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton’s line drive on July 4. Tanaka is to throw batting practice again on Sunday.

“If everything comes out OK, I should be ready to go,” he said through a translator.

He did not use a protective screen. Tanaka said he thought about getting hit only before delivering his first pitch.

Braves add veteran

The Atlanta Braves signed right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who pitched for Milwaukee and Boston in 2019, to a one-year contract. Chacin was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five games with Atlanta in 2016 after signing a minor league contract with the team. Chacín was released by Minnesota on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Chacin could provide depth as left-hander Cole Hamels recovers from left triceps tendinitis. Hamels won’t be ready for Friday’s season opener at the Mets.

Chacin was a combined 3-12 with a 6.01 ERA with the Brewers and Red Sox last season. For his career, he has a 77-87 record and 4.03 ERA.

Red Sox, Rays trade

The Boston Red Sox acquired right-hander Dylan Covey from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.

He has been added to the club player pool. Left-hander Bobby Poyner was removed from the pool but remains in the organization.

The 28-year-old Covey has made 63 appearances with 45 starts in a three-year career with the Chicago White Sox. He is 6-29 with a 6.54 ERA.