Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees game postponed after multiple Yankees test positive for COVID-19

UniqueThis 52 Jul 15
Will the Red Sox, Yankees play this weekend after positive COVID-19 tests? (1:20)

Buster Olney reports on the postponement of the Red Sox-Yankees game on Thursday night due to positive COVID-19 tests by some of New York's players. (1:20)

4:49 PM ET

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 New York pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta.

Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka and Gio Urshela are also in COVID-19 protocols, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said earlier Thursday that tests for three players were still pending, but he did not name them. He said he assumes the tests will come back positive.

All the Red Sox All-Stars who were in Denver have been asked to undergo additional testing on Thursday because they were told a Yankees All-Star had tested positive, sources told ESPN's Marly Rivera.

Judge, Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman all participated in the All-Star festivities this week.

"It's a fluid situation that could spread. It has spread to some degree," Cashman said. "We have three positives and we have three pending that we've had rapid tests on. ... We'll wait now for the lab tests to come back, which I'm assuming is going to be positive, as well. So that would increase our number to six, but we're not at six yet. We're at three confirmed.''

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 pitchers were fully vaccinated, as are most of the players on the team. He also said that the three players awaiting test results are in quarantine.

While vaccinations do not prevent a person from contracting COVID-19, 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.

"The last year, year and a half, has kind of in some ways kind of prepared you for this kind of stuff," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Certainly disappointing and frustrating.''

This was the eighth COVID-19-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 on 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 American League East at a disappointing 46-43, was among the first major league 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 on June 25 that 23 of its 30 teams had reached an 85% vaccination rate among tier one 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-19 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 Thursday, taking early batting practice about 3½ hours before the scheduled start, when the Yankees asked media to leave the field while the team conducted COVID-19 testing.

Boston, whose 55-36 record matched Houston for best in the AL, came onto the field as the postponement was announced to take batting practice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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