Fernando Tatis Jr. and 2 Yankees Coaches Test Positive for Coronavirus

Although the number of coronavirus vaccinations was slowly increasing among Major League Baseball staff, two teams announced Tuesday that they were dealing with new virus cases. Three were rare breakthrough cases where a colony tested positive despite being fully vaccinated.

Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego’s superstar shortstop, tested positive and was asymptomatic, Padres manager Jayce Tingler told reporters Tuesday before the team’s game in Colorado. As a result, Tatis was put on the injured list, as were two teammates who were in close contact with him, Jorge Mateo and Jurickson Profar.

In St. Petersburg, Florida, ahead of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees announced that third base coach Phil Nevin, who was fully vaccinated, had tested positive and was in isolation in Tampa. “He’s fine,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

After the Yankees’ 3-1 win, Boone said tests had confirmed a second case – an unnamed support agent – and that the team was still planning to play as planned on Wednesday night. A team spokesperson later said that the Yankees’ first base coach, Reggie Willits, was the team’s third case and that both Willits and the support agent were also fully vaccinated.

Earlier in the day, Boone said that Nevin’s positive test showed up on Sunday when the team flew to Tampa after his game in New York, and that the Yankees had gone through a range of virus tests in the past, from polymerase chain reactions to a rapid 24 to 36 Hours. Without the Yankees’ high vaccination rate, Boone said, the team’s situation would have been handled differently.

Despite the effectiveness of vaccines, breakthrough cases are expected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Although a small percentage of fully vaccinated people get sick, vaccination protects most people from illness,” the said CDC website said. “There is also evidence that vaccination can make the disease less severe in people who are vaccinated but still get sick.”

Some media reports earlier in the day indicated that there had been at least five positive tests among the Yankees’ coaches, but Boone said ahead of the game that test results for some other coaches and staff were pending. He also said that people who weren’t necessarily close to Nevin but fell into a gray area were sent home out of caution.

No players were affected, but Boone said the Yankees operated with “a bit of skeletal staff”.

Boone said that Carlos Mendoza, the team’s bench coach, had been asked to take on Nevin’s third base duties and that Mario Garza, who works in the Yankees’ minor league system, had been promoted to major leagues, to train the first base site of the Willits.

Although Boone refused to describe any Yankees’ absences prior to the game, Bullpen coach Mike Harkey visited the hill instead of pitching coach Matt Blake during the game.

Nevin’s fall was the first for the Yankees in the 2020 and 2021 regular seasons; They also had none in the postseason last year. Some players, like the closer Aroldis Chapman, the infielder DJ LeMahieu and the reliever Luis Cessa and Zack Britton, tested positive in the off-season or in the run-up to the regular 2020 season.

“We’ve all learned that if you play out a pandemic and go back to last year, it doesn’t surprise you,” Boone said. “But still you will be a little surprised when you get this news.”

Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ star pitcher and a union representative for the top players, said the team as a whole met and heard from doctors and that everyone should play on Tuesday. Cole, who wore a mask again during his video interview with reporters Tuesday, said the team was being tested “like crazy” – at least twice a day.

“Overall, we want to continue,” he said. “Different levels of comfort throughout the club. So we’re just trying to take this into account and stick together as a group. We’re making sure everyone is in a good place to perform tonight. We were confident that we could do this as a group.”

The rewards included masks that were no longer needed in the shelter or in the bullpen, food indoors and visitors to the team hotel. Boone and Nevin, 50, received the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson during spring training, and the Yankees massed their players and staff with a vaccine last month. Even so, Boone and others wore masks again during Tuesday’s game.

MLB and the Players Union announced last week that more than 83 percent of all players and key employees were considered partially or fully vaccinated. They also said that five of the 30 teams had already reached the threshold for relaxed virus rules and that seven more would join them once they hit the two-week mark to be considered fully vaccinated.

Ahead of Tuesday’s game, Boone said he hoped Nevin’s case wouldn’t stop people from getting vaccinated.

“The fact that we are hopefully vaccinated in fairly large quantities will mitigate this and allow some of us to get nothing and keep symptoms to a minimum if it gets through,” he said.

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