BOSTON (CBS) — Hours before first pitch was scheduled for Thursday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game in the Bronx, word spread that the Yankees had canceled batting practice as they worked through COVID-19 protocols.
Some 30 minutes later, the game was postponed.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal first reported that the game was postponed due to the Yankees’ COVID-19 issues, and the Yankees confirmed that report minutes later.
“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,” the MLB release said. “Major League Baseball will continue to provide scheduling updates as available.”
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that three pitchers, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta have tested positive. Three additional tests are pending. The three players who tested positive are fully vaccinated.
Yankees All-Star Aaron Judge is among the three other New York players in protocol. That means Boston’s five All-Stars — Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Barnes — who were in Denver with Judge will undergo further testing as well.
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
Rafael Devers just told me that he was asked to not do interviews pregame because one of the #Yankees who went to the All-Star Game tested positive. Devers said that he is going to undergo testing this afternoon.
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) July 15, 2021
“Obviously, I’m worried now,” Boston manager Alex Cora told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. “Some of them are vaccinated; some of them are not. So just a matter of, hopefully, they get tested today. They got tested this morning, I think it was, and hopefully everything comes back the way it should.”
The Yankees have reached the 85 percent threshold for COVID vaccinations this year.
Thursday was set to be the first of a four-game series between the Red Sox and Yankees, who will face each other eight times in the next 11 days. Thursday night’s game was set to air on national TV, as it’s the only game that was scheduled to take place across Major League Baseball.
Thursday was also set to mark the major league debut of Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran, who was in the starting lineup, batting seventh and starting in center field for the Red Sox after getting called up to start the second half.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that none of the players who tested positive are symptomatic at this point.
Brian Cashman is unsure when MLB will make a decision on whether or not Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees game will be played. It is up to the league at this point.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) July 15, 2021
This marks the second straight game where Red Sox’ opponents have dealt with a COVID-19 situation shortly before first pitch was scheduled. The Phillies had four players placed on the COVID-19 list — including their starting pitcher, Aaron Nola — hours before facing the Red Sox on Sunday in Boston. The Phillies won that game, 5-4.
The Red Sox and Yankees are scheduled to play on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, with Saturday’s and Sunday’s game scheduled to be on national television.