Fully vaccinated New York Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin has a “breakthrough” case of COVID-19, the Major League Baseball team said Tuesday as several coaches were expected to be sidelined.
Also being placed on the COVID-19 safety protocol absentee list was San Diego Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr, who has tested positive for the virus.
Nevin and multiple other coaches were due to miss the Yankees’ series opener at Tampa Bay, with New York manager Aaron Boone saying the team learned of Nevin’s positive test hours after a 3-2 home win Sunday over Washington after the team was on the way to Florida.
“We have a ‘breakthrough positive’ involving third-base coach Phil Nevin, who is fully vaccinated,” the Yankees said in a statement.
“He is currently under quarantine protocol in Tampa. Under Major League Baseball’s guidance and advice, and with its assistance, additional testing and contact tracing are ongoing.”
Such “breakthrough” cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control, happen among a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated but still get COVID-19 if exposed to the virus that causes it.
Yankees players and coaches received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine on April 7 and the club passed the 85% vaccination threshold in late April, allowing MLB COVID-19 safety protocols to be relaxed in the clubhouse, dugouts and other team spaces.
Boone said that first-base coach Reggie Willits was also quarantining, with bench coach Carlos Mendoza to fill in as third-base coach Tuesday and player development coordinator Mario Garza filling in at first.
“Playing through a pandemic, going back to last year, I guess nothing surprises you,” Boone said. “But it does catch you off guard a little bit when you get that news.”
Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Tatis Jr. tested positive for COVID-19 but is not experiencing any symptoms. Two other players are out pending contact tracing as close contacts.
“Naturally, you’re punched in the stomach a little bit,” Tingler said.
“First of all, you want to make sure for Tatis in this situation, is he feeling OK? He’s feeling well. But you know he’s crushed inside, mentally.”
Tatis is batting .240, but his seven steals are tied for the National League lead and his nine home runs are one off the pace.
No timetable was set for Tatis to return.