The Yankees Coronavirus outbreak increased to seven confirmed cases on Wednesday.
Three of the team’s trainers and four of its support staff – all seven people are fully vaccinated and are therefore considered breakthrough cases – have tested positive and are in quarantine. All but one are asymptomatic, manager Aaron Boone said before the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Yankees held shortstop Gleyber Torres off the grid as his virus test results were pending and on the advice of the joint Major League Baseball committee and players’ union that oversees health and safety logs during the pandemic, Boone said.
Despite a growing number of cases, Wednesday’s game was never in jeopardy, Boone said, and the team went on to victory thanks to Gerrit Cole’s 12 spikes in eight scoreless innings and a sacrificial fly from Aaron Hicks in the seventh inning. The Yankees had enjoyed casual health and safety protocols under the rules negotiated by the MLB and the players union in order to reach the threshold of fully vaccinating at least 85 percent of the club’s travel group.
The Yankees outbreak began with third base coach Phil Nevin on Sunday as the team flew from New York to Florida to face the Rays. (Nevin and Boone received the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson during spring training in March.) The Yankees were extensively tested on Mondays when they had a day off and again before Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Rays .
MLB conducted a contact tracing and no players were identified as close contacts. It also helped that the Yankees had been largely vaccinated, which mitigated the effects and spread of the virus and changed how their situation was handled. MLB postponed 45 games after outbreaks and falls last season, and the leagues had already done so seven times this season.
“I feel like we’re good and able to deal with it in so many ways because we’re vaccinated,” said Boone, who was also a little frustrated that the virus tests were so good now that even small traces of the virus could be seen detect.
Yankees pitcher Jameson Taillon added, “Our boys who passed the 85 percent vaccination threshold have all calmed down a bit.”
Before Tuesday’s game, some Yankees players had been concerned and the team met to speak and hear from medical experts. Taillon said there was no doubt they would play and the team unanimously voted for it. After Tuesday’s game, the Yankees said their confirmed cases had grown to three.
“We’re a family over there and we have to all be together,” Taillon said ahead of Wednesday’s game. “We don’t want to go on the field, even if one of the guys is nervous when he plays. We just had to bring it out, speak to it. “
May 12, 2021, 9:10 p.m. ET
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 says. “There is also evidence that vaccination can make the disease less severe in people who are vaccinated but still get sick.”
The three absent coaches on Wednesday were first base coach Reggie Willits, pitching coaches Matt Blake and Nevin. During the quarantine, Blake was asymptomatic and still attended pre-game planning sessions via video calls and used text messages or FaceTime to communicate with pitchers.
The Yankees stepped into their player development staff, calling on people like minor league coordinator Mario Garza and pitching director Sam Briend to fill in the gaps in the coaching staff. The Yankees declined to name the four support workers who tested positive.
After Wednesday’s game, Boone said the team are still awaiting Torres’ test results. He said Torres contracted the virus and developed antibodies back in December. The test results that are being reviewed by the committee arrived at different times. Everyone in the Yankee travel group, which includes approximately 60 people, is tested at least three times a day with polymerase chain reaction, saliva, and rapid tests.
Although Several actors and key staff across the MLB were reluctant to get vaccinatedThe Yankees were among the five MLB teams to hit the 85 percent mark, the league and players’ union said last week. Another seven would join them once they hit the two-week mark. Thereafter, the vaccine recipients are considered fully vaccinated.
The relaxed rules allow, among other things, to do without masks in the shelter or in the bullpen, indoor dining and visitors to the team hotel.
Although the Yankees deserved the loose rules, they returned to the stricter masks that Tropicana Field wore and detached on Tuesday and Wednesday. Taillon said he warmed up on Wednesday afternoon in the outfield rather than in the weight room because he wanted to avoid tight spaces.
“For a little bit there, we thought we were through with all of the vaccines and right by the time we were removed from our vaccines, past the two-week threshold,” he said.
He later added, “Having crossed that threshold, we no longer wore our masks as we were when we were forced to do so. We felt pretty comfortable for a little bit there because that was what the rules called for. Now we’re going to tighten it up again and hopefully everyone stays safe and we can keep this thing going. “