Friday night's game between the Red Sox and Yankees will proceed as scheduled after Thursday's game had to be postponed following positive COVID-19 tests among New York players.
The Yankees made the announcement shortly before 3 p.m. Friday on Twitter. The gates at Yankee Stadium are scheduled to open on time at 5:30 p.m.
Thursday's game will be made up as the first game of a split-admission doubleheader on Aug. 17 at 1:05 p.m.
The Yankees’ post-All-Star break opener against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night was postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests among vaccinated New York pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta. They were joined on the COVID-19 injured list Friday by All-Star slugger Aaron Judge, third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Kyle Higashioka.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would not say Thursday whether they include the Yankees’ All-Stars who were in Denver: Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman. But ESPN reported late Thursday night that Judge was among six players who tested positive.
Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, J.D. Martinez and Matt Barnes all came in close contact with Judge at the All-Star Game. The Red Sox have not said yet if their lab results have come back.
“It’s a fluid situation that could spread. It has spread to some degree,” Cashman said. “We have three positives and we have three pending that we’ve had rapid tests on. ... We’ll wait now for the lab tests to come back, which I’m assuming is going to be positive, as well. So that would increase our number to six, but we’re not at six yet. We’re at three confirmed.”
Loaisiga went on the COVID-19 injured list Saturday, when the Yankees were in Houston, and he did not travel home with the team Sunday. Cortes and Peralta went on the COVID-19 IL on Thursday.
Cashman said all three were fully vaccinated, as are most of the players on the team. Among the three, two received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the other was either Pfizer or Moderna, according to Cashman.
“Those players are doing well thus far,” he said. “And that would speak again to the belief that those vaccinations are working and ultimately they’re to protect us from severe illness and/or death.”
MLB was conducting contact tracing under its protocols.
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“The vaccines that we encourage everybody to get guarantee not getting hospitalized and not getting death coming from COVID, which is important, but it doesn’t prevent you from contracting COVID,” Cashman said. “It just obviously protects you from the severe worst-case scenario effects from COVID.”
This was the eighth COVID-related postponement this season but the first in nearly three months. Also put off were a three-game series that had the New York Mets at Washington from April 1-4, and Atlanta’s game at the Nationals on April 5, two Minnesota at Los Angeles Angels games on April 17-18 and a Twins at Oakland game on April 19.
“The last year, year and a half, has kind of in some ways kind of prepared you for this kind of stuff,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Certainly disappointing and frustrating.”
There were 45 regular-season games postponed for virus-related reasons during last year’s pandemic-shortened season but just two were not made up, between St. Louis and Detroit.
New York, fourth in the AL East at a disappointing 46-43, was among the first MLB teams to reach the 85% vaccination threshold that triggers a lessening of coronavirus protocols such as dropping mask use in dugouts and bullpens.
MLB said in its last announcement June 25 that 23 of it 30 teams had reached 85% vaccinations among tier 1 individuals such as players and on-field staff. The Red Sox were not among them.
Despite all those vaccinations, the Yankees had more than a half-dozen positive COVID tests in May involving staff, including pitching coach Matt Blake, third base coach Phil Nevin and first base coach Reggie Willits. Nevin, despite being vaccinated, became seriously ill with a kidney infection that kept him away from the team for more than three weeks.
No Yankees players tested positive then, though shortstop Gleyber Torres had a false positive, according to Boone.