The Red Sox’ COVID-19 outbreak reached the top of their roster this week, as All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts had to exit mid-game after returning a positive test. And the organization felt compelled to answer for the problem, led by Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom.
“It’s gut-wrenching,” said Bloom in a press conference Wednesday, via Ian Browne at MLB.com. “How else can you react? Every single [positive test] has been. We try to go to great lengths to keep these sorts of things from happening, and then to see what’s happening now, it’s really hard. This goes beyond baseball. We feel, and I certainly feel in the chair I sit in, a lot of responsibility to every single person in our traveling party and our organization.
“When our powers to prevent something like this from happening and continuing to happen only go so far, that’s a bad feeling.”
Infielder Yairo Muñoz became the seventh Red Sox player to test positive for COVID on Wednesday. He joins Bogaerts, closer Matt Barnes, utility man Kiké Hernández, infielder Christian Arroyo, and pitchers Martín Pérez and Hirokazu Sawamura. Reliever Josh Taylor was additionally placed on the COVID injured list as a close contact with Barnes.
The shorthanded Red Sox grabbed a win in their latest game on Wednesday, 3-2 over the Rays, on the strength of Jarren Duran’s two-out RBI single in the ninth inning.
Chris Sale started and pitched six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and eight walks while striking out three. Garrett Whitlock (two scoreless innings) and fill-in closer Adam Ottavino held down the fort for the bullpen, as Ottavino picked up his first save of the season with a perfect ninth, including two strikeouts.
Boston goes for the series split with Tampa Bay on Thursday. Lefties Eduardo Rodriguez and Shane McClanahan is the expected pitching matchup.