Answering Yankees’ COVID questions amid new breakout and postponed Red Sox game

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NJ.com 15 July, 2021 - 05:56pm 5 views

Is the Yankee game postponed today?

“Following positive COVID-19 tests within the New York Yankees organization, tonight's game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium has been postponed to allow for continued testing and contact tracing. ... CBS New YorkYankees Game Postponed Following Multiple Positive COVID Tests

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman looked stone-faced during a media Zoom call Thursday with COVID attacking his ballclub again.

May’s outbreak that affected shortstop Gleyber Torres, three coaches and five staffers was bad.

The latest is worse with six players in quarantine due to positive tests, Thursday night’s game at Yankee Stadium with the Boston Red Sox postponed and Friday night’s game perhaps in jeopardy, as well.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, All-Star right fielder Aaron Judge is among three unannounced Yankees players who tested positive.

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All of the positive tests occurred even though most Yankees players and staffers have been fully vaccinated for months.

“We’re in a very fluid situation right now,” Cashman said. “The vaccines that we encourage everybody to get guarantee not getting hospitalized and not getting death from COVID, which is important, but it doesn’t prevent you for contracting COVID. It just obviously protects us from the severe, worst-case scenario effects from COVID.

“So we’re thankful there we’re vaccinated in most cases — not all cases, but in most cases — so therefore we’re ultimately protected. But it does not prevent contracting COVID. I think it just lessens those effects, so we are still vulnerable as the population is experiencing COVID contracting.”

Here is the latest info on what’s going on:

This outbreak began last Saturday in Houston with Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga testing positive the morning after he pitched the ninth inning of Friday night’s 4-0 victory against the Astros.

Loaisiga has been in quarantining in Houston ever since, and thus did not return to New York with the Yankees following Sunday’s series finale in Houston.

Five other players tested positive on Thursday after the Yankees reported to Yankee Stadium following a three-day break for Thursday night’s scheduled game against the Red Sox.

The Yankees announced Thursday afternoon that pitcher Nestor Cortes and reliever Wandy Peralta were put on the COVID injury list, then Cashman announced three other players had tested positive multiple times on rapid tests.

The Yankees didn’t reveal the other three players, but ESPN reported that they were third baseman Gio Urshela, catcher Kyle Higashioka and Judge.

“We’re waiting for lab-based tests to give us a final official confirmed, so we could be as high as six from the player population pool right now,” Cashman said. “Until those (lab tests) resolve, I’m not going to say who they are or not. Once I have a confirmation of what we’re dealing with and then permission from the players, if they so provide, then I’ll be able to speak to it a lot better.”

COVID protocols were in place that all MLB players were expected to follow during the All-Star break.

“The players negotiated the system with Major League Baseball and the Players Association about what you can and can’t do,” Cashman said.

It’s unknown if Judge contracted COVID while he was in Denver for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. He was the starting right fielder for the American League and was 0-for-2 with a walk playing the first 4 ½ innings of his teams’ 5-2 victory.

On Thursday, Cashman said players were encouraged to take COVID tests at Yankee Stadium.

“We’ve offered tests for all players, and we continue to do so,” Cashman said. “Most of the population going into today we’re willing to take those tests and we’re dealing with the results from those.”

The commissioner’s office made the decision to postpone Thursday’s game, which doesn’t yet have a makeup date.

I don’t want to speak for the commissioner what led to the final official decision for him to cancel the competition between Boston and New York., but he took all aspects involved,” Cashman said. “I’m sure from his perspective in his chair, until this very fluid situation declares itself and we all really know what we’re dealing with, better safe than sorry. That’s probably what went into his decision-making process.”

That decision was made with a lot of careful thought with safety and health involved for all parties and both teams as well as obviously anybody else that could be within the vicinity (of Yankee Stadium), Cashman said.

No decision has been made yet on whether the Yankees and Red Sox will play Friday night or be canceled again.

“That would be something that again would be directed by Major League Baseball and the commissioner,” Cashman said.

All three of revealed Yankees players who tested positive were fully vaccinated, two from one-shot Johnson & Johnson, and the other from one of the double-dose vaccines, either Pfizer or Moderna.

“So we have experienced breakthroughs on various vaccinations,” Cashman said. “That’s not something that hasn’t happened and it won’t be happening in the future, either. But thankfully I can report that those players are doing well thus far, and doing what they need to be doing in quarantine regardless of being diagnosed post-vaccination. The other three are now in a quarantine situation pending the ultimate outcome of the final lab results, and we’ll see where the things goes.”

Cashman said all six players who tested positive were “doing well,” but manager Aaron Boone stated during his Thursday media Zoom call that “a couple of them have had symptoms, but for the most part are doing pretty well.”

Added Boone, “We’ll tackle it as best we can, first and foremost obviously anyone that’s tested positive making sure we help them be as healthy as can be. We’ll just rally around them and give them the support they need and see where this thing unfolds.”

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Read full article at NJ.com

Yankees’ Shutdown Emphasizes Staying Power of the Coronavirus

The New York Times 15 July, 2021 - 04:30pm

The team has three confirmed breakthrough cases, and may add three more positive cases in an outbreak that could affect multiple All-Stars.

At 4:45 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, Alex Rodriguez stood up in the ESPN broadcast booth at Yankee Stadium and motioned down to the sun-splashed field, arms outstretched and palms turned up — the universal look of confusion.

The Yankees had hurriedly pulled their players off the field and canceled batting practice, but the visiting Boston Red Sox were stirring. Alex Cora, Boston’s manager, saw Rodriguez and made a slashing motion a few inches in front of his neck. No game tonight.

Major League Baseball had scheduled just one game on Thursday, putting the Yankees and the Red Sox in the national spotlight to start the nominal second half of the season. Then an unwelcome intruder got in the way: the coronavirus.

M.L.B. postponed the game because three Yankees pitchers — Nestor Cortes Jr., Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta, each of whom is vaccinated — had tested positive for the coronavirus. General Manager Brian Cashman said three other players had tested positive through multiple rapid tests, and that the team expected those players’ laboratory test results to also come back positive.

The Yankees have reached the 85 percent vaccination rate M.L.B. requires to operate under relaxed Covid protocols, but Cashman said the team had again experienced breakthrough cases, two months after an outbreak of nine cases, mostly within the coaching staff.

“We’re in a very fluid situation right now,” Cashman said. “The vaccines that we encourage everybody to get guarantee not getting hospitalized and not getting death coming from Covid, which is important, but it doesn’t prevent you from contracting Covid; it prevents you from the severe, worst-case-scenario effects of Covid. We’re thankful that we’re vaccinated in most cases — not all cases — and therefore we’re ultimately protected.”

The Red Sox are one of seven M.L.B. teams that have not reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold. Another one of those teams, the Philadelphia Phillies, put four players on the Covid-19 injured list before Sunday’s game in Boston, but that game was played. This one was postponed, the league said, to allow for continued testing and contact tracing.

The Yankees put Loaisiga on the Covid-19 injured list on Saturday in Houston, and he did not travel with the team after that series, which led into the All-Star break. Cortes and Peralta were placed on the list on Thursday.

Cashman did not know the status of the Yankees’ remaining weekend games with the Red Sox, who are scheduled to be in New York through Sunday. Given the two outbreaks the team has now experienced, he said the Yankees would consider a change in protocols.

“We certainly will re-evaluate everything we have done and if there’s anything we can be better at as we move forward, those are fair questions to ask,” Cashman said. “I don’t have an answer for that right now. I know that we rely on a lot of guidance from medical experts and try to implement to the best of our abilities. We have a population of personnel that most are vaccinated, some have chosen not to get vaccinated, they have their reasons for that. We’re certainly trying to create — Major League Baseball is, as well as the New York Yankees — a safe environment to come work and travel in.”

The Yankees sent three players to the All-Star Game in Denver on Tuesday — Aroldis Chapman, Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge — but Cashman would not say if they were among the other three players who had positive results via rapid tests.

He did say that not all of the players who could end up positive were vaccinated. And Boston’s Rafael Devers, who was also at the All-Star Game, told ESPN’s Marly Rivera that he was getting tested for the virus because a Yankee All-Star had tested positive. Cora confirmed to reporters that his team’s five All-Stars — Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes, Nathan Eovaldi and J.D. Martinez — were all getting tested, and that not all of those players had been vaccinated.

“Obviously I’m worried now,” Cora said. “Some of them are vaccinated and some of them are not.”

If a player is vaccinated, he does not have to be tested unless he shows symptoms or is identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive. The more vaccinated players, the less chance of identifying asymptomatic positives — and, critically, the less chance of spreading the virus.

Baseball does a lot of things to ensure player safety. The league requires players to wear batting helmets with a front earflap. Stadiums have padded outfield walls. Every dugout with steps has a railing in front of it. Those are sensible rules, as is the rule that requires reporters to show proof of vaccination to interview players face to face.

But the league cannot force the players to take the vaccine, and players across the league have been wary of publicly revealing their status. Some who are vaccinated have spread doubt among others; Phillies relievers Archie Bradley and Brandon Kintzler have openly wondered if taking the vaccine contributed to subsequent injuries.

“I have people in my life that have made decisions in both ways, and ultimately I respect that,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. “I’ve chosen to get vaccinated. I’ve encouraged those to. But in the end, that’s a deeply personal decision, in my opinion.”

Tony Clark, the executive director of the players’ union, said at the All-Star Game that while he had gotten the vaccine, he was not pushing all the players to do the same.

“Push? No,” Clark said. “Encourage? We’ve encouraged since the beginning, and we continue to. So if guys ask, we’ll put players directly in touch with experts and make sure they have access to that information. Not push, but encourage.”

Maybe it’s time to start pushing.

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