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Yankees-Red Sox game postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests

The Red Sox take batting practice after a

The Red Sox take batting practice after a game was postponed against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Yankees aren’t done with COVID-19 quite yet.

Nowhere close.

And, as a result, Thursday night’s game against the Red Sox, intended to unofficially kick off the second half for Major League Baseball, was postponed.

With no assurances Friday night’s game, or the rest of the weekend’s games against their rival, will take place.

"At the end of the day, it's a fluid situation that could spread, it has spread to some degree, we have three positives, and we have three pending," GM Brian Cashman said Thursday.

Cashman confirmed three pitchers – Nestor Cortes Jr., Wandy Peralta and Jonathan Loaisiga – had all recently come back with positive tests and that the three remaining outstanding tests all belong to players and that they are expected to come back as positive. A club source said all three pending tests belong to position players.

ESPN’s Marly Rivera tweeted early Thursday night that "all the Red Sox All-Stars who were in Denver have been asked to undergo additional testing today because they were told that one of the Yankees All-Stars has tested positive for COVID."

Gerrit Cole, Aroldis Chapman and Judge were the three Yankees in Denver as All-Stars.

Cortes, Peralta and Loaisiga all have been vaccinated, Cashman said, adding later, when asked, that "most" of the remaining three had been vaccinated.

Because of the outbreak among the player population, and the need for continued testing and contact tracing, and it not being clear just how widespread the outbreak is, made it a relatively easy call for Commissioner Rob Manfred to postpone the game.

"The decision to play or not play rests in the in these circumstances with the Commissioner's Office," Cashman said. "So tomorrow's game decision, that would be something that, again, would be directed by Major League Baseball and the Commissioner himself."

The Yankees, of course, dealt with an outbreak already this season. From May 11-16, the organization announced a total of nine members of their traveling party as having tested positive, a group that included Gleyber Torres. Aaron Boone disclosed, for the first time, Thursday that Torres’ turned out to be a false positive.

The other members testing positive in May whose names were released by the Yankees were first base coach Reggie Willits, third base coach Phil Nevin and pitching coach Matt Blake.

Only two of the nine, including Nevin, experienced significant side effects, something Cashman said at the time was proof the vaccines were working.

Cashman said Thursday indications were all those testing positive, or those with tests pending, were mostly asymptomatic.

"Thankfully, I can report that, as of right now, everybody's okay," Cashman said.

The Yankees by late April had reached the 85 percent vaccination rate required by MLB that allowed clubs to begin relaxing some of the mandated COVID-19 protocols (the wearing of masks, social distancing, etc.). To date there are a small handful of Yankees’ players who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

According to the CDC’s website, "a small percentage" of those who have been "fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus that causes it."

"These are called ‘vaccine breakthrough cases,' " the CDC states on its website. "This means that while people who have been vaccinated are much less likely to get sick, it may still happen. Experts continue to study how common these cases are. Large-scale clinical studies found that COVID-19 vaccination prevented most people from getting COVID-19."

Before BP was canceled Thursday, it was noticeable the number of Yankees’ staffers wearing masks on the field who in previous weeks had not been wearing them.

"I think we certainly will reevaluate everything we have done, and if there's anything we can be better at as we move forward, those are fair questions to ask," Cashman said.

New York Sports