NEW YORK — The Yankees’ post-All-Star break opener against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night was postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests among vaccinated New York pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said three additional tests were pending and he assumed they would come back positive.
Loaisiga went on the COVID-19 injured list Saturday, when the Yankees were in Houston, and he did not travel home with the team Sunday.
Cashman said all three were fully vaccinated, as are most of the players on the team.
While vaccinations do not prevent a person from contracting COVID, it prevents severe effects.
“As of right now, everybody’s OK,” he said.
Cashman said Major League Baseball had not yet decided whether to postpone Friday’s second scheduled game of the four-game series.
“We’re in a very fluid situation right now,” he said.
This was the eighth COVID-related postponement this season but the first in nearly three months. Also put off were a three-game series that had the New York Mets at Washington from April 1-4, and Atlanta’s game at the Nationals on April 5, two Minnesota at Los Angeles Angels games on April 17-18 and a Twins at Oakland game on April 19.
There were 45 regular-season games postponed for virus-related reasons last year but just two were not made up, between St. Louis and Detroit.
New York, fourth in the AL East at a disappointing 46-43, was among the first MLB teams to reach the 85% vaccination threshold to lessen coronavirus protocols such as dropping mask use in dugouts and bullpens.
MLB said in its last announcement June 25 that 23 of it 30 teams had reached 85% vaccinations among tier 1 individuals such as players and on-field staff. The Red Sox were not among them.
Despite all those vaccinations, the Yankees had more than a half-dozen positive COVID tests in May involving staff, including pitching coach Matt Blake, third base coach Phil Nevin and first base coach Reggie Willits. Nevin, despite being vaccinated, became seriously ill with a kidney infection that kept him away from the team for more than three weeks.
No Yankees players tested positive then, though shortstop Gleyber Torres had a false positive.
New York players were on the field taking early batting practice about 3 1/2 hours before the scheduled start Thursday when the Yankees asked media to leave the field while the team conducted COVID testing.
Boston, whose 55-36 record matched Houston for best in the AL, came onto the field as the postponment was announced, then took batting practice.