Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the number of "breakthrough" cases in the team’s traveling party to eight, the club announced Thursday.
Torres, who previously had COVID-19 in December, was placed on the COVID-19 injured list. The Yankees have recalled infielder Miguel Andújar from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
All eight Yankees positives are considered breakthroughs, which occurs with individuals who have been fully vaccinated. Torres, like seven of the eight cases, is not experiencing symptoms.
“The one thing I take from this is, I believe the vaccine is working,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’ve got eight positives and seven of the eight presented without symptoms. Without testing, you wouldn’t have even known. We’re thankful that we’re allowed to stay active and move forward.”
Torres last played in Tuesday’s 3-1 Yankees victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field, and Cashman said that his understanding is that Torres must remain on the injured list for at least 10 days. Torres received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The other recent Yankees COVID-19 positives are pitching coach Matt Blake, third base coach Phil Nevin, first base coach Reggie Willits and four members of the traveling staff. All are currently under quarantine protocol in Tampa, Fla., where they will remain until satisfying MLB’s re-entry procedures.
Cashman said that a two-hour, 20-minute rain delay before Saturday’s game in New York may have been a potential spreading event. Manager Aaron Boone said that the coaches are continuing to test positive, though all PCR and saliva tests taken of the active roster were negative on Thursday.
“I hope that is good news and hopefully means we’re moving in the right direction,” Boone said.
Major League Baseball, its medical experts and the New York State Department of Health are currently advising and assisting the Yankees, who continue to undergo additional testing and contact tracing.
“I know that we are maybe a case study or a curiosity for people who don’t know that, despite being vaccinated, you are really still potentially exposed,” Cashman said. “Your exposure is limited significantly, not to getting the virus, but how the virus affects you.”
Most of the Yankees received their single-shot vaccinations on April 7 at Yankee Stadium, administered by staff from Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx. While it has been an unsettling week in the clubhouse, right-hander Corey Kluber said that he believes his teammates have handled the situation well.
“In my opinion, even though we've gotten vaccinations, we continue to do a good job of the things that are part of normal society nowadays -- whether it be giving space, washing hands, sanitizing, whatever it might be,” Kluber said.
The team passed the 85 percent vaccination threshold in late April, permitting the relaxation of protocols in the clubhouse, dugouts and other spaces. Boone and numerous other uniformed personnel have returned to wearing masks during games.
“I think it's stopped all of us a little bit in our tracks,” Boone said. “When we got to that threshold, frankly, I probably relaxed a little bit. I just think for all of us, it's just made us be a little bit more cautious.”