By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) –Matt Barnes is back with the Red Sox and ready to go for Thursday’s Opening Day at Fenway Park. That was in doubt after a positive COVID-19 test over the weekend, which ended up being a false alarm for the Boston closer.

Barnes isn’t sure how his test came back positive, as he’s been following all the protocols in place to make sure players don’t contract the virus. They’re protocols that he helped approve as Boston’s union rep, and as he told reporters on Tuesday, he doesn’t go anywhere when his focus is on baseball.

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“Before we had COVID, I didn’t go anywhere in Spring Training anyways, let alone during a global pandemic,” Barnes said on his Tuesday morning Zoom session with reporters. “When I found out Saturday, I said no way, I didn’t go anywhere. I went food shopping, to the field and my house.”

Barnes was in shock when he got the news Saturday morning, and that shock soon turned to concern that he had potentially put his teammates in danger. After Barnes tested positive, eight other players had to quarantine for contact tracing. Everyone has since been cleared to return to action, but it led to an uncomfortable few days for Barnes.

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“It didn’t feel right, but at the same time, all the necessary protocols need to be taken just in case. This is a crazy virus and there are still parts people don’t understand,” he said. “When I found out Saturday, my main focus became making sure I could do everything else so no one else on the team would be put in jeopardy.”

Barnes said that just one of his tests came back positive. After that, he took roughly eight other tests — both PCR and rapid tests — and they all came back negative. Other than being tested, Barnes said that he didn’t do anything but sit on his couch all day Saturday and Sunday, wondering how this all happened.

“If I had done something dumb — going somewhere I shouldn’t have or had people in town — if I had done something or was symptomatic, then I would maybe see this and I would have beat myself up,” he said.  “But I didn’t do anything. I’m super relieved and super happy it was just a misunderstanding and we are good to go. We’ll be at full strength and everyone is good to go for Thursday.”

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Barnes was able to play catch on Monday, and said he’ll be a full-go come Thursday afternoon when the Red Sox begin their 2021 season against the Baltimore Orioles. Staff