The Boston Red Sox will be without their closer to start the season.
With Thursday’s Opening Day drawing near, Matt Barnes tested positive for COVID-19, Sox manager Alex Cora announced Saturday morning.
Cora indicated that Barnes is asymptomatic, but that the Red Sox are doing rapid testing Saturday to see if there are any more cases. Matt Andriese, who was scheduled to pitch Saturday, was considered a close contact of Barnes, so he will now enter the contact tracing protocols and stay away from camp.
Because of the positive test, Barnes will have to be away from the team for at least 10 days, so he’s out for Opening Day. He figured to be a big part of the bullpen this season, and if he wasn’t the closer than he at least was going to big used in late-inning, high leverage situations.
With Barnes out, Adam Ottavino, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor and Hirokazu Sawamura might end up seeing increased workloads in the late innings, depending on how matchup-based Cora decides to use his bullpen. However, until the contact tracing is completed it’s tough to know who actually will be available.
As of now, the Boston-Pittsburgh Pirates Grapefruit League game Saturday remains on.