The Yankees conclude their series in Tampa on Thursday night, continuing a week’s worth of action as COVID-19 cases within the clubhouse has grown to eight confirmed. With his coaching staff depleted as a result of many being forced to quarantine, Aaron Boone has had to deal with some unique challenges while helping lead his team to a crucial series victory against the Rays.
“It’s certainly been a challenge,” Boone told Carton & Roberts on his weekly segment on Thursday. “I think one of the things you take for granted is just that…our coaching staff and a lot of our staff members have been together for a long time, so we know everyone’s role and what they do and what they briung to the table and how we communicate with one another, how the in-game communications happen, how I communicate with my base coaches, non-verbal things…these things have had to be altered and updated and changed a little bit…I’m so fortunate that Carlos Mendoza, an amazing bench coach assisting me, but the staff as a whole has stepped up and I feel like we’re in very good hands and we’ve been able to adapt, but it has been an adjustment these last couple days.”
Third base coach Phil Nevin, first base coach Reggie Willits and pitching coach Matt Blake are all quarantining after receiving positive tests, along with three others despite being vaccinated earlier this season. The outbreak of breakthrough positives in the Yankee clubhouse has also reached the players, as Gleyber Torres was put on the COVID-19 IL on Thursday after testing positive, though Boone told Carton & Roberts that the shortstop is asymptomatic and will hopefully return to the team soon.
“He’s doing well,” Boone said. “I know he’s feeling normal and good and he has a place down here in Tampa so he’s quarantining at home and will continue to get tested.
Of the eight that tested positive, which included Torres, coaches and staff members, Boone said that seven were asymptomatic, and the one that wasn’t is no longer showing symptoms.
“We had one of my coaches that had symptoms and didn’t feel good for a day and a half or so, but the rest of them had been asymptomatic and the rest of them now are all feeling good,” Boone said.
As positive COVID cases were growing within the clubhouse upon the team’s arrival to Tampa, players took a vote to decide whether or not to continue with the series, a vote that ace Gerrit Cole said was not a unanimous one. But any players that may have concerns about continuing to play during an unprecedented week have an open forum with Boone, who will keep the conversation going as the team tries to stop the spread.
“I think our guys have wanted to go out there and play, but we’re having these conversations all the time,” Boone said. “Obviously being on the road we’re together throughout the day. We have our team brunch when there are interactions happening, even when we’re away from the field. Obviously we’re being as cautious as we can with social distancing and wearing our masks, but those conversations are happening.”
Listen to Boone’s full interview with Carton & Roberts below: