Boston Red Sox

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox were sent into a scramble drill over the weekend, when reliever Matt Barnes tested positive for COVID-19. Due to contact tracing, there was a worry that a significant number of pitchers would have to go into contact tracing with Opening Day less than a week away.

However, the Red Sox got some much-needed good news on Monday. Barnes’ test result was ruled to be a ‘non-infectious positive,’ as first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post. That ruling allowed Barnes and those who were found to have been in close contact with him to return to the team.

Don’t know what a ‘non-infectious positive’ test is? You’re not alone.

“Barnes got cleared by the committee. I don’t know about the details,” Alex Cora told the media on Monday. “I’m just happy he’s going to be back with us and we’re going to be at full strength in a few days.”

Finding a definition might take a few laps around Google, but according to the British Dental Journal, a ‘non-infectious positive’ test basically means Barnes has the virus, but his body is also producing antibodies that stop the virus from spreading.

Before his positive test, Barnes was battling for the still-unannounced closer role to start the season. Now that the 30-year-old is back in the picture, that competition will continue. Barnes has made a strong case, throwing a scoreless 5.1 innings so far this spring. His biggest competition is Adam Ottavino, who has thrown 6.1 scoreless innings.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at