The Boston Red Sox were dealt a tough blow Friday when it was revealed starting pitcher Chris Sale had tested positive for COVID-19.
However, they did get some positive news as star Xander Bogaerts returned to the lineup after his own battle with the virus. And before Bogaerts and the rest of the Red Sox took the field against the Chicago White Sox, manager Alex Cora revealed more about the conditions of other players who tested positive.
While one starter went down Friday in Sale, the Red Sox soon could have one back in Nick Pivetta.
“He’s feeling good,” Cora said of Pivetta over Zoom. “The hope is for him to join us at one point, hopefully he will be here in Chicago, but that’s where we’re at. It’s not a sure thing, but hopefully that will be the reality.”
Cora said Pivetta would start Sunday’s game against the White Sox if he was healthy enough. As for Saturday’s starter — which would have been Pivetta — Cora said there is no decision and there were several candidates on the taxi squad who could get the start.
The Red Sox added pitchers Connor Seabold and Kaleb Ort to the taxi squad in the face of Sale’s positive test.
The bullpen is slated to get some more power back, as both Hirokazu Sawamura and Matt Barnes were with the team in Chicago and were throwing a bullpen session during Cora’s media availability. He said the pair won’t be activated Friday.
“They haven’t done much, so we’ll see how they feel about this one,” Cora said. “We’ve got to be realistic, too, how much they can contribute, if only one bullpen is enough.”
Martín Pérez is with Triple-A Worcester, where he will throw a bullpen session and pitch Sunday.
The updates on Jarren Duran and Christian Arroyo weren’t as positive. Cora said Duran “is doing better” but still quarantined, and Arroyo “is still seeing doctors.”
There’s some good news (and some pretty vague news) in that update, but at least (at this point) Cora said the team wasn’t concerned with any close contacts coming out of Sale’s positive test.