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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 8/1/20

Could MLB shut down?; Jim Crane blames Yankees, Sox; Aroldis Chapman returns; Tommy Kahnle undergoes MRI

Houston Astros Media Availability Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

ESPN | Jeff Passan: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, on the heels of a chaotic week in baseball, told MLBPA head Tony Clark that the league could shut down if players can’t better control the spread of COVID-19. A full 20% of the league was on the sidelines last night following positive tests ahead of the Brewers-Cardinals game, and concerns are rising on all sides about the feasibility of pulling this season off just one week in. Of course, Manfred has yet to announce any actual threshold for shutting down, retaining that authority based on his own discretion.

New York Post | Jared Schwartz: Astros owner Jim Crane is still upset at the treatment of his club following the sign-stealing revelations over the winter. The Houston boss expressed indignation on Friday that his team “took the bullet” for other cheating teams like the Red Sox and Yankees, feeling the Astros were the only team punished for violating league rules.

ESPN | Marly Rivera: Arguably the AL’s best relief pitcher, Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to return to the Yankees after passing MLB’s requirements for COVID-19 recovery. The team announced the flamethrower had tested positive back on July 11, and although details of Chapman’s condition were kept rather quiet, he has tested negative twice and been reinstated through the league’s guidelines and rejoined the team’s bullpen in the home opener against Boston. | Randy Miller: As if to mock the above link, as one key Yankee reliever returns, another is at least temporarily sidelined. Tommy Kahnle underwent an MRI Friday afternoon after complaining of forearm tightness. The righthander was noticeably unavailable on Thursday night against the Orioles and major missed time would be a serious concern for him and the squad.