New York Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin and first-base coach Reggie Willits have tested positive for the coronavirus, manager Aaron Boone said Tuesday.
Nevin’s status was announced before Tuesday night’s game against the Rays. Boone confirmed Willits’ positive case and that of a staff member after the Yankees’ 3-1 win. Boone also said the team is waiting for more results.
Two additional cases are considered inconclusive but are expected to be ruled as positives, a source told ESPN, which would bring to five the number of coaches and support staff members who are positive. ESPN earlier reported that there were five positive cases among the coaching staff.
“We’re doing all we can to stay healthy. A little bit of a skeleton staff but nothing we can’t handle,” Boone said before Tuesday’s game.
The team said in a statement that Nevin is fully vaccinated and under quarantine protocol in Tampa, Florida.
“He’s doing OK,” Boone said.
Contact tracing is ongoing, but no players are involved, according to Boone. Bench coach Carlos Mendoza replaced Nevin as third-base coach, and minor league coordinator Mario Garza filled in as first-base coach for Willits. Pitching coach Matt Blake was visible in the bullpen area when starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery warmed up before the game.
“Hopefully the fact that we are vaccinated in a pretty large mass … will blunt this and allow a number of us to not get anything and keep the symptoms at a minimum if it does get through,” Boone said.
The Yankees on April 30 were able to relax MLB protocols after reaching an 85% vaccination rate among players and staff such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers. The team spoke with MLB officials about the situation.
“We’ll have to definitely evaluate and make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to prevent things from happening,” Boone said.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole resumed wearing a mask during a pregame videoconference session Tuesday.
“As a whole, we’re going to press on,” Cole said. “I don’t think this is going to be over for a few years. I think we’re going to have to be dealing with this kind of thing for a while. And every time these things come up, we’re going to have to adapt and learn, just as a species.”
Cole said the players were comfortable in playing the game.
“We’ve all learned that playing through a pandemic last year, nothing surprises you, but it catches you off guard a little bit,” Boone said. “Playing the 2020 season, going through spring training, playing this year and not having an issue, it still hits you, it still stops you in your tracks. Without question we’re certainly more equipped to deal with it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.