The New York Yankees will host the Boston Red Sox to kick off the second half of Major League Baseball's regular season Friday night following the postponement of Thursday's game due to positive COVID-19 tests for six Yankees players. The postponed game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Aug. 17 at Yankee Stadium.
"After conducting testing and contact tracing involving members of the New York Yankees' organization, the Club's home game tonight vs. the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium will proceed as scheduled," the Yankees said in a statement Friday afternoon.
On Thursday, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that the Yankees had three positive cases and three that were pending. All six were later confirmed to be positive, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. The six players -- Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr., Wandy Peralta, Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka and Gio Urshela -- were placed on the COVID-19 list.
During his Friday press conference, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that some of the players were experiencing symptoms, but there was nothing severe. The symptoms some players are feeling are like they have a cold or just generally don't feel well.
All five Red Sox All-Stars Rafael Devers, Matt Barnes, Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, JD Martinez) were told to take social distancing precautions since Judge was at the All-Star Game, reports Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. "I was a little worried, and obviously I'm worried now," Cora said of his team's five All-Stars (via sny.tv). "Some of them are vaccinated and some of them are not."
Cashman told reporters "most" of the six players were previously vaccinated. Urshela was vaccinated earlier this season (he spent one day on the COVID list with vaccine side effects in May). The Yankees were reportedly one of the first teams to clear the vaccine threshold (85 percent of tier-1 individuals) that allows for looser adherence to MLB's protocols.
This is their second instance of positive tests since, with several coaches having to miss time in May following so-called "breakthrough infections." As experts have since explained, the purpose of a vaccination is to reduce the severity of the infection rather than eliminate the possibility altogether; from that perspective, the COVID-19 vaccines worked as intended, with nearly all of those cases being asymptomatic in nature.
Thursday was supposed to mark the beginning of a pivotal stretch for the Yankees, who entered the second half stationed in fourth place in the American League East, some eight games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees are slated to play the Red Sox and the second-place Tampa Bay Rays a combined 11 times ahead of MLB's July 30 trade deadline. The results of those contests -- and keep in mind, the Yankees are 5-14 against those teams so far this season -- will likely dictate whether New York is aggressive at the deadline.