Muñoz is latest Red Sox player to test positive for COVID-19

Sports

Boston Red Sox’s Yairo Munoz celebrates after his single off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher J.P. Feyereisen during the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (AP) — Boston infielder Yairo Muñoz has become the latest Red Sox player to test positive for COVID-19 as the virus surge impacting the team remains unrelenting.

Eight Boston players and two coaches have either had a positive test or have been identified as close contacts since Friday.

“It’s gut-wrenching,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom on Wednesday. “How else can you react? Every single one has been. It’s really hard. This goes beyond baseball.”

Bloom said the majority of the players who’ve tested positive have been vaccinated.

“Overall we’re optimistic that everybody’s going pull through here without long-term concerns, but obviously we don’t know that for sure until everybody is through it,” Bloom said. “The levels of the symptoms have varied.”

When asked if he is frustrated that there are unvaccinated players on the Boston roster, Bloom said he wished everyone in the organization was vaccinated.

“And for that matter everybody, period, who’s eligible,” Bloom said. “I’m a strong proponent of vaccinations, and so is our organization.”

Bloom thinks going forward vaccinations will be topic of discussion throughout baseball.

Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts was pulled in the second inning of Tuesday night’s 8-5 loss to the Rays because of a positive test.

“He’s doing good,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “He’s at the hotel. No symptoms.”

It was announced before Tuesday’s game that reliever Hirokazu Sawamura had tested positive.

Left-hander Martín Pérez and right-hander Matt Barnes were added to the COVID-19 injured list on Monday. Also, reliever Josh Taylor and first base coach Tom Goodwin were identified as close contacts and quality control coach Ramón Vázquez tested positive.

Infielders Kiké Hernández and Christian Arroyo were placed on COVID-19 IL last Friday. They remain in Cleveland, where Boston was playing when the pair both had positive tests.

“Kiké feels great, Christian is doing better,” Cora said.

Boston has returned to some pandemic protocols from last year, including holding pregame meetings on the field.

The Red Sox began Wednesday with a one-game lead over Oakland for the second AL wild card.

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