Rangers at Astros Pre-Game Notes: COVID-19 Strikes Rangers' Broadcast Booth Again

Chris Halicke

The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros face off in a rubber match of their three-game series on Thursday evening.

Texas Rangers (18-31) @ Houston Astros (24-25)

Thursday, September 17, 2020
6:10 p.m. CT
Minute Maid Park | Houston, TX
Roof Closed

TEX: RHP Jordan Lyles (1-4, 7.80 ERA)
HOU: LHP Framber Valdez (3-3, 4.08 ERA)


Texas Rangers
TV: FOX Sports Southwest
Radio: 105.3 The Fan, KFLC

Houston Astros
TV: AT&T SportsNet Houston
Radio: KMBE

Texas Rangers Starting Lineup

  1. CF Leody Taveras
  2. 3B Isiah Kiner-Falefa
  3. DH Nick Solak
  4. RF Joey Gallo
  5. 2B Rougned Odor
  6. 1B Sherten Apostel
  7. SS Anderson Tejeda
  8. LF Eli White
  9. C Jeff Mathis

Houston Astros Starting Lineup

  1. CF George Springer
  2. 2B Jose Altuve
  3. DH Michael Brantley
  4. 3B Alex Bregman
  5. LF Kyle Tucker
  6. 1B Yuli Gurriel
  7. SS Carlos Correa
  8. RF Josh Reddick
  9. C Martín Maldonado

Injury Report

10-Day IL

  • Joe Palumbo (ulcerative colitis flare-up): eligible August 14
  • Danny Santana (right elbow sprain): eligible September 6
  • Joely Rodríguez (left hamstring strain): eligible September 16
  • Shin-Soo Choo (right hand sprain): eligible September 18
  • Jose Trevino (left wrist impingement): eligible September 21
  • Elvis Andrus (lower back strain): eligible September 22

45-Day IL

  • Brock Burke (left shoulder surgery): eligible May 27
  • Corey Kluber (torn right teres major muscle (shoulder)): eligible September 11
  • José Leclerc (torn right teres major muscle (shoulder)): eligible September 13
  • Edinson Vólquez (right oblique strain): eligible September 27

COVID-19 Strikes the Rangers' Broadcast Booth Again

In a joint statement with FOX Sports Southwest, the Rangers announced that broadcaster C.J. Nitkowski tested positive for COVID-19. 

"Working with FOX Sports Southwest, the Rangers immediately began the protocols that are in place for positive COVID tests, and any person who had direct contact with Nitkowski must undergo COVID-19 testing. No individuals will be allowed back into the facility without receiving a negative COVID-19 test."

-Texas Rangers

The Rangers also said the Globe Life Field broadcast level, including all broadcast booths, was thoroughly sanitized and disinfected on Thursday.

Out of an abundance of caution, FOX Sports Southwest and the Rangers decided together that all broadcast talent and crew who have had access to the television booth for the last several days will not work Thursday’s telecast against the Astros.

Instead, FOX Sports Southwest will carry the Texas Rangers radio network broadcast as a simulcast with Eric Nadel, Matt Hicks, and Jared Sandler on the call. FOX Sports Southwest expects to resume its television production for Friday night’s game when the Rangers take on the Los Angeles Angels.

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Game Day