Bobby Dalbec was included in the pool of players the Red Sox invited to the resumption of spring training earlier this month both to continue his development and have him available to the major league team if needed.
Those plans were temporarily derailed when the 25-year-old infielder tested positive for COVID-19 while home in Arizona on June 7.
Dalbec arrived in Boston on June 30, was tested again and quarantined until July 10. He rejoined the team on Saturday but has yet to play in an intrasquad game.
“I was asymptomatic the entire time. No spike in fever,” Dalbec said Wednesday. “I never felt tired, no body aches, nothing. I had my [sense of] taste and smell the whole time. I obviously consider myself lucky.
“Obviously it’s a serious thing. The last thing I want is anyone on the team to feel uncomfortable with me being around . . .They weren’t going to let me come back if I wasn’t good to go.”
Even so, Dalbec said he has been careful with his interactions
“I’m not going up to anyone right away if I make them feel uncomfortable,” he said. “Speak when spoken to and get my work in.”
Dalbec spent most of the shutdown in Arizona working out and felt he was ready before the positive test surprised him.
“The first day I was a little nervous,” he said. “I tried to calm myself down.”
Dalbec could make his major league debut this season. He can play first base and third base and over the last two seasons has hit 59 home runs in the minors.
“I feel ready to go. It’s just when they feel I’m ready to go,” he said.
Lefties to IL
Lefthanders Darwinzon Hernandez, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Josh Taylor tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. All three gave permission to manager Ron Roenicke to discuss their status.
They won’t be ready for the start of the season next week but are doing well and could soon be cleared to start working out at Fenway Park.
But when the Red Sox placed Hernandez, Rodriguez, and Taylor on the injured list on Wednesday, a terse news release did not mention why or what injured list they were on.
Per instructions from Major League Baseball, teams are not allowed to cite COVID-19 for injury list assignments. Nor are they allowed to publicly acknowledge the existence of the COVID-19 related injured list, which was created for this season.
As opposed to the usual 10-day injured list, the COVID-19 IL is open-ended. A player could be on it for one day while waiting for the result of a test or indefinitely.
It’s likely to be used often this season. So even if a player is truthful about why he is out, the official designation will be left open for interpretation.
To return to their team, any player who tests positive must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart, be without a fever for 72 hours, and compete an antibody test.
A team doctor and MLB’s Joint COVID-19 Health & Safety Committee also must approve.
Roenicke said all three pitchers should be back on the roster by early August.
Fenway Park now has a large tent adjacent to the home dugout. It covers six rows of seats over six sections of the dugout boxes. A similar structure is being built next to the visitors’ dugout.
With only nine players and three coaches allowed in the dugout at a time for social distancing purposes, teams had the option to create auxiliary spaces in lieu of extra players and coaches sitting in the stands.
Some of seats under the tent were removed to make more space.
“There’s a lot of room in there. It looked good,” Roenicke said.
The Red Sox signed their fourth-round pick, University of Hawaii lefthander Jeremy Wu-Yelland. He took a bonus of $200,000, well below the slot value of $487,900.
The only unsigned pick is fifth-rounder Shane Drohan, a lefthander from Florida State. The Sox have $479,900 remaining in their bonus pool. His slot value is $364,400.
The Sox have not announced the signing of third-round pick Blaze Jordan. But he has reportedly agreed to a bonus of $1.75 million.
Split ‘em up?
The Sox are leaning to an even split of the 30-man roster they’ll have to start the season. But they could go to 16 pitchers. “I know what I want to do and that’s probably 15 and 15,” Roenicke said. “But when we get to these last few games we’ll have a better idea. The starting pitching has a lot to do with that.” . . . The Sox again experimented with recorded crowd noise, something the players have said they wanted as opposed to a quiet ballpark. It’s a steady buzz that grows louder when the ball is put in play or an out is recorded . . . Jackie and Erin Bradley announced they are expecting a second child, a boy.