Boston’s Bogaerts pulled from game against Rays after positive COVID-19 test

Sports

Boston Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts watches his RBI single off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Ryan Yarbrough during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Boston’s J.D. Martinez scored on the hit. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Boston Red Sox star shortstop Xander Bogaerts was pulled from Tuesday night’s game at Tampa Bay after testing positive for COVID-19, the latest virus setback for the team.

Bogaerts hit an RBI single in the first inning but left before the start of the bottom of the second.

Before the game, the club announced that reliever Hirokazu Sawamura had tested positive for the virus. Sawamura and reliever Josh Taylor were placed on the COVID-19 related injured list — Taylor was a close contact individual.

The Boston bullpen has been hit hard by the outbreak that started last week.

Left-hander Martín Pérez and right-hander Matt Barnes were added to the COVID-19 injured list before Monday’s 6-1 loss to the Rays. It was announced afterward that Taylor and first base coach Tom Goodwin were in quarantine as close contacts, and quality control coach Ramón Vázquez had tested positive.

Infielder-outfielder Kiké Hernández and infielder Christian Arroyo were placed on COVID-19 IL last Friday. They remain in Cleveland, where the Red Sox were playing when both tested positive.

Boston outfielder Hunter Renfroe, placed on the bereavement list Thursday following the death of his father, cleared MLB protocols and was reinstated to the active roster. He started in right field and hit leadoff.

“It hasn’t been easy, but I try to focus on the positives,” manager Alex Cora said.

Boston began Tuesday holding a two-game lead over Oakland for the second AL wild card.

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