The Yankees were supposed to start off their second half tonight in a big four-game series at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox with Domingo Germán toeing the rubber against Eduardo Rodriguez. There were no other games scheduled, so they had the ESPN spotlight.
However, this game will not be played. Hours after pitchers Nestor Cortes and Wandy Peralta joined relief ace Jonathan Loaisiga on the COVID-19 injured list, there were rumblings about even greater concerns of an outbreak. The Yankees cancelled their batting practice to work through testing and the health and safety protocols, and about two and half hours before first pitch, Major League Baseball postponed the game altogether. (You can read the team’s statement at the end of the article.)
Later, ESPN’s Marly Rivera reported that at least two position players have tested positive as well. GM Brian Cashman told the media that there are “three positives and three pending,” and per a Rafael Devers interview, one of the Yankees’ All-Stars tested positive. Per Cashman, “most but not all” of the six players have been vaccinated. All of Cortes, Peralta, and Loaisiga are indeed vaccinated; Loaisiga was the first known positive last week and he stayed behind in Houston to quarantine.
Buster Olney later tweeted that the position players who tested positive are Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka, and Gio Urshela.
The three other Yankees position players who are in COVID-19 protocol are Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka, and Gio Urshela. Because Judge was at the All-Star Game with other players, this has triggered contact tracing questions for the Red Sox players (and presumably others).— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 15, 2021
The Yankees have now experienced two COVID-19 outbreaks in 2021, following the situation in early May that felled multiple team coaches and shortstop Gleyber Torres (though his was a false positive). This is all especially odd since they are one of 23 MLB teams that have cleared the 85-percent vaccination threshold, and they’re reportedly “well past” that figure.
The good news is that no one is symptomatic aside from the unvaccinated player, so the vaccine is working. As coach Phil Nevin noted, the vaccination likely saved his earlier COVID case from spreading to his lungs and causing serious damage. The team has to get to the bottom of this in a hurry anyway because it’s still a bad situation, especially for anyone around the team that is immunocompromised or can’t get vaccinated for other reasons.
We’ll provide any updates as soon as we see them. Nothing has been anounced about the rest of this planned four-game series; Cashman said that the call for Friday will be up to MLB.
Following positive COVID-19 tests within the Yankees organization, tonight’s game between the Yankees and the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium has been postponed to allow for continued testing and contact tracing. MLB will continue to provide scheduling updates as available.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 15, 2021