A COVID-19 outbreak within the Yankees' player group has prompted the postponement of Thursday's game between the Yankees and Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, allowing Major League Baseball to conduct continued testing and contact tracing.
The league will continue to provide scheduling updates as available. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that there have been no decisions made regarding the rest of the weekend's scheduled games, calling it "a very fluid situation right now."
Three Yankees players have been confirmed as COVID-19 positive and placed on the COVID-19 injured list: pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta.
In addition, three other players have received multiple positive diagnoses from rapid testing and are being quarantined while awaiting lab results. According to multiple reports, the players in quarantine protocol are outfielder Aaron Judge, catcher Kyle Higashioka and third baseman Gio Urshela.
Cashman said that he anticipates those players will also be confirmed to be COVID-19 positive.
"We have a couple of them that have had symptoms, but for the most part, they're doing pretty well," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "We’ll just rally around them and give them the support they need and see where this thing goes as the hours unfold.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that he hopes a doubleheader will not be scheduled for Friday.
“I think the most important thing is their clubhouse now,” Cora said. “I think we’re going to be aggressive as far as testing; we talked about it today. It doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not. I think the smart thing to do is get back to what we did earlier in the season.”
Loaisiga tested positive during the Yankees’ series this past weekend in Houston and did not travel with the team following its series at Minute Maid Park. According to the Yankees, Cortes, Loaisiga and Peralta are all fully vaccinated, as are most -- but not all -- of the six affected players.
Vaccinations prevent severe effects from COVID-19, and while they do not fully eliminate the possibility of infection, they reduce the risk of people spreading the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Yankees are one of several Major League teams to have reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold. The Red Sox, however, have not reached that threshold.
“I still feel that’s a deeply personal decision,” Boone said. “I have people in my life that have made decisions in both ways. Ultimately, I respect that. I've chosen to get vaccinated and I've encouraged [others] to.”
Out of an abundance of caution, the Yankees did not conduct batting practice prior to Thursday’s postponement. The team also urged media members to leave the field for safety reasons.
The Yankees had more than a half-dozen breakthrough positive COVID-19 tests in May, including third-base coach Phil Nevin, who missed nearly three weeks because of a kidney infection discovered at the same time as his diagnosis.
Pitching coach Matt Blake and first-base coach Reggie Willits also tested positive, though infielder Gleyber Torres is believed to have received a false positive at that time, according to Boone.
“The last year and a half has prepared you for this kind of stuff,” Boone said. “It’s certainly disappointing and frustrating. I don’t want to be sitting here talking about this. I desperately want us to go back to as normal as possible, but that’s out of our control. We’ve just got to do the best with the circumstances.”