Buck Showalter talks with Chris Bassitt about his harsh COVID testing comments

Buck Showalter talks with Chris Bassitt about his harsh COVID testing comments

Chris Bassitt returned to the mound on Friday night, a day after admitting regret over telling the Mets that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

The right-hander said he would “probably” not make the same decision again in the future, frustrated that he had to sit out a week without feeling any symptoms beyond some sluggishness, but the Mets had a conversation with him about those comments.

“I’ve talked with him, we’ve talked with Chris,” manager Buck Showalter said Friday before the Mets lost to the Marlins 5-2 at Citi Field.

“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. I’m not going to get into anything politically. He’s free to express himself as a human being. We’ve talked to him. I’ll leave it at that.”

Bassitt was scratched from his scheduled start on July 1 after informing the team he had taken a COVID-19 test on his own that came back positive. He never felt sick, Bassitt said, but he was not allowed to return to the team until Thursday because of the league’s COVID protocols.

Major League Baseball only tests players if they are close contacts or report feeling symptoms, which then sets off a protocol that includes testing.

Buck Showalter takes out Chris Bassitt during the seventh inning of the Mets' 5-2 loss to the Marlins.
Buck Showalter takes out Chris Bassitt during the seventh inning of the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Marlins.
Corey Sipkin

“I guess the answer is I should have never said anything,” Bassitt said Thursday. “I should never have said I tested positive. And I probably won’t the rest of my career. There’s no way. There’s no reason.”

Bassitt gave up two runs across 6 /₃ innings on Friday against the Marlins.

Pete Alonso and Starling Marte were finalists to start the All-Star Game for the National League, but neither Met got the nod after fan voting.

Cardinals star Paul Goldschmidt was voted the NL starter at first base while the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and Giants’ Joc Pederson will join the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. in the starting outfield.

Pitchers and reserves will be determined by player voting and the commissioner’s office, with full rosters announced on Sunday.

After his strongest start of the season on Thursday, throwing seven shutout innings of two-hit ball against the Marlins, Trevor Williams is headed back to the Mets’ bullpen, barring an injury to another starter in the coming days.

Williams has bounced between a long relief and starting role this season, but with Max Scherzer and Bassitt coming off the IL this week, Williams will be a reliever again after getting at least three days of rest because of his heavy workload Thursday.

To make room for Bassitt on the roster, the Mets optioned reliever Jake Reed to Triple-A Syracuse.

Jeff McNeil’s wife, Tatiana, is expecting the couple’s first child soon. That means McNeil will become the latest Met to land on the paternity list, perhaps as soon as the upcoming series against the Braves, which starts Monday in Atlanta.

“Great news. Another cigar for Buck, I hope,” Showalter said. “I don’t smoke as much as I try to look cool with them. It’s not actually cool to smoke.”


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