Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin was away from the team after it was announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
New York announced the positive test for Nevin, who is fully vaccinated, about two hours before the scheduled first pitch Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.
Following the game, the team revealed first base coach Reggie Willits and an unnamed member of the support staff also tested positive for COVID.
The #Yankees have now confirmed three COVID-19 positives among their staff: 1B coach Reggie Willits, 3B coach Phil Nevin and an unnamed member of the “support staff.”
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) May 12, 2021
Nevin is under quarantine protocol in nearby Tampa. Under Major League Baseball’s guidance and advice, and with its assistance, additional testing and contact tracing are ongoing.
“He’s doing OK,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Several other coaches missed the game due to contact tracing, but Boone said the contact tracing did not include any players.
“We have a few other staff, coaches that are still pending and we don’t have confirmation on,” Boone said before the game. “There’s a few people that we sent home just as a precaution to make sure. We’re doing all we can to stay healthy. A little bit of a skeleton staff but nothing we can’t handle.”
Bench coach Carlos Mendoza replaced Nevin as third base coach, and minor league coordinator Mario Garza filled in as first base coach for Reggie Willits.
Pitching coach Matt Blake was not visible in the bullpen area when starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery warmed up before the game.
The Yankees on April 30 were able to relax MLB protocols after reaching an 85% vaccination rate among players and staff such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers. The team spoke with MLB officials about the situation.
“We’ll have to definitely evaluate and make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to prevent things from happening,” Boone said.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, who resumed wearing a mask during a pregame zoom session Tuesday, said the players were comfortable in playing the game.
“As a whole, we’re going to press on,” Cole said. “I don’t think this is going to be over for a few years. I think we’ve going to have to be dealing with this kind of thing for a while. And every time these things come up, we’re going to have to adapt and learn, just as a species.”
Cole planned to wear a mask in the dugout during Tuesday night’s game.
“We’ve all learned that playing through a pandemic last year, nothing surprises you, but it catches you off guard a little bit,” Boone said. “Playing the 2020 season, going through spring training, playing this year and not having an issue, it still hits you, it still stops you in your tracks. Without question we’re certainly more equipped to deal with it.”
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