Yankees Game Postponed After Positive Covid Tests
At 4:45 p.m. Thursday afternoon, Alex Rodriguez stood in the ESPN broadcast booth at Yankee Stadium and waved to the sun-drenched pitch, arms outstretched and palms turned – the universal gaze of confusion.
The Yankees had quickly pulled their players off the field and called off batting practice, but the visiting Boston Red Sox were stirring. Boston manager Alex Cora saw Rodriguez and made a sharp movement a few inches in front of his neck. No game tonight.
Major League Baseball had only scheduled one game on Thursday, putting the Yankees and Red Sox in the domestic spotlight to enter the nominal second half of the season. Then an unwelcome intruder got in the way: the coronavirus.
MLB postponed the game because three Yankees pitchers – Nestor Cortes Jr., Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta, each vaccinated – had tested positive for the coronavirus. General manager Brian Cashman said three other players had tested positive in several rapid tests and the team expected those players’ lab test results to be positive as well.
The Yankees have achieved the 85% vaccination rate required by MLB to operate under relaxed Covid protocols, but Cashman said the team had once again seen groundbreaking cases, two months after an outbreak of nine cases, mostly in within the coaching staff.
“We’re in a very fluid situation right now,” Cashman said. “The vaccines we encourage everyone to get ensures that you won’t be hospitalized and you won’t die from Covid, which is important, but that doesn’t prevent you from contracting Covid; it warns you of the serious effects of the worst-case scenario of Covid. We are grateful to be vaccinated in most cases – not all cases – and therefore we are ultimately protected. “
The Red Sox are one of seven MLB teams that have failed to meet the 85 percent vaccination threshold. Another such team, the Philadelphia Phillies, put four players on the Covid-19 injured list ahead of Sunday’s game in Boston, but that game was played. It has been postponed, the league said, to allow further testing and contact tracing.
The Yankees placed Loaisiga on the Covid-19 injured list on Saturday in Houston, and he did not travel with the team after that streak, which led to the all-star break. Cortes and Peralta were placed on the roster on Thursday.
Cashman did not know the status of the Yankees’ remaining games with the Red Sox, which are expected to be in New York until Sunday. Given the two outbreaks the team has now experienced, he said the Yankees would consider a change in protocol.
“We’re definitely going to re-evaluate everything we’ve done and if there’s anything we can improve as we move forward, those are fair questions to ask,” Cashman said. “I don’t have an answer at the moment. I know we rely on a lot of expert medical advice and try to implement it to the best of our ability. We have a population of staff who are mostly vaccinated, some have chosen not to be vaccinated, they have their reasons for that. We are certainly trying to create – Major League Baseball, as well as the New York Yankees – a safe environment to come to work and travel. “
The Yankees sent three players to the All-Star Game in Denver on Tuesday – Aroldis Chapman, Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge – but Cashman didn’t want to say if they were among the other three players who tested positive. fast.
He said not all players who could test positive were vaccinated. And Rafael Devers of Boston, who was also at the All-Star Game, told ESPN’s Marly Rivera he was being tested for the virus because a Yankee All-Star tested positive. Cora confirmed to reporters that all five of her team’s All-Stars – Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes, Nathan Eovaldi and JD Martinez – are all tested and not all of those players have been vaccinated.
Understanding the State of Vaccination Mandates in the United States
“Obviously I’m worried now,” Cora said. “Some of them are vaccinated and some are not.”
If a player is vaccinated, they do not have to be tested unless they show symptoms or are identified as close contact with someone who tested positive. The more vaccinated players are, the less chance there is of identifying asymptomatic positives – and, most importantly, the less chance of spreading the virus.
Baseball does a lot of things to keep players safe. The league requires players to wear batting helmets with a front ear cup. The stadiums have padded exterior walls. Each canoe with steps has a balustrade in front of it. These are sound rules, as is the rule that requires journalists to show proof of vaccination when interviewing players face to face.
But the league cannot force players to get vaccinated, and players across the league have been reluctant to publicly disclose their status. Some vaccinated have sowed doubt among others; Phillies relievers Archie Bradley and Brandon Kintzler have openly questioned whether taking the vaccine contributed to subsequent injuries.
“I have people in my life who have made decisions both ways, and ultimately I respect that,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “I chose to be vaccinated. I encouraged them to do so. But in the end, it’s a deeply personal decision, in my opinion.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the players’ union, told the All-Star Game that even though he got the shot, he wasn’t pushing all players to do the same.
“Push? No,” Clark said. “Encourage? We have encouraged from the start, and we continue to do so. So if the guys ask us, we’ll put the players in direct contact with experts and make sure they have access to that information. Do not push, but encourage.
Maybe it’s time to start growing.
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