A day after the news came out that Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes tested positive for COVID-19, manager Alex Cora revealed that eight members of the organization are currently in contact tracing.
However, as of Sunday morning, there were no positive tests aside from Barnes.
Out of respect for the privacy of the eight people and their families, Cora didn’t reveal names on the contact-tracing list, other than righty Matt Andriese, who had to be scratched from his start on Saturday against the Pirates.
Four of the eight were identified as “close contacts,” which means they must quarantine for seven days after they were believed to be in close contact with Barnes.
Barnes' positive test took place on Thursday.
The four others who weren’t classified as "close contacts" but are instead "extra scrutiny contacts" can still be limited participants at Spring Training.
Cora’s projected core of regulars was in the lineup on Saturday in Bradenton, Fla., and for Sunday’s home game against the Twins at JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers.
Adam Ottavino, Boston’s other closing candidate in addition to Barnes, pitched Sunday, so that’s an indication he isn’t on the close-contact list.
“This contact tracing thing, I’m learning more and more with time, hours and minutes,” Cora said. “There is a good chance that some of these guys will be able to be there for us for Opening Day. It’s when you had contact with Matt, and that’s why you wear the GPS device.
“That has actually served us [well] to keep people out of the contact tracing list and actually adjust time-wise the contact tracing list. The last 12 hours or by the end of the Pittsburgh game has been more positive than negative. The morning [Saturday] was a tough one, but I think we’re in a better spot than we were early yesterday.”
The timing is tough for the Red Sox, with just four days to go before Opening Day. And now the club has additional logistics to consider, such as how it will transport those who are quarantining back to Boston when camp breaks on Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s not a good feeling,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. “We all know this is possible. Last year we experienced what it feels like to know one of your players has tested positive. But we didn’t have that experience after intake, and this is a whole different feeling because you start thinking about all the different ways this could trend and worst-case scenarios, and that’s part of our job -- to make sure we’re prepared for those.”
Will the recent developments lead Bloom to go outside the organization for some pitching reinforcements?
“It’s interesting because this is a time of year where there’s often a lot of movement. Teams are setting rosters,” Bloom said. “Players might become available that haven’t been throughout the spring. So generally speaking, it’s a time of year when you’re looking around, and this adds a little bit of twist to that. At the same time, we need to make sure that we’ve got our arms around the developing situation here, and to the extent this is just a short-term bump in the road we also need to be mindful of that.”