CLEVELAND — The Red Sox will be without Kiké Hernández indefinitely after the super utility player tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.
Another utility player, Christian Arroyo, was deemed a close contact of Hernández’s and will miss at least this weekend’s series against the Cleveland Indians.
Hernández, who told reporters in April that he had been vaccinated, has a breakthrough case. Manager Alex Cora said Hernández is experiencing symptoms.
“They will be out for an extended period of time,” Cora said.
A player who tests positive is generally out for 10 days per Major League Baseball’s protocols. Because Hernández is vaccinated, he could miss less time.
Arroyo could be out for up to seven days.
The Sox are already without right fielder Hunter Renfroe, who went on the bereavement list Thursday.
Jonathan Araúz and Yairo Muñoz were summoned from Triple A Worcester, arriving just before game time from Buffalo. When the lineup was announced less than a half hour before first pitch for Friday night’s series opener, Muñoz was in the leadoff spot, playing left field. Araúz, at second base, batted ninth.
“We have to find a way to keep moving forward and keep playing good baseball,” Cora said.
Friday night in Cleveland. pic.twitter.com/fUlbwvMwYb— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 27, 2021
Hernández has started 108 games this season and is fifth on the team with an .811 OPS. He has hit .300 with a .937 OPS since the All-Star break.
Arroyo has hit .264 with a .777 OPS in 53 games. This marks his fourth time on the injured list this season.
Cora said more roster moves are coming, perhaps as soon as Saturday. One could be activating utility player Danny Santana off the injured list. He has been out since July 22 with a strained left groin.
The Sox have had 10 players land on the COVID-19 related injured list this season. Most have missed only a game or two.
Bench coach Will Venable was recently away from the team for 12 days after testing positive. First base coach Tom Goodwin also missed time after being in contact with Goodwin and ordered to quarantine in Canada.
“We’ve been very disciplined,” Cora said. “Just talking to other people on other teams, we probably are the most aggressive team testing wise throughout the process.
“It’s not Kiké's fault. I know for a fact that he’s been great about all this stuff and taking care of his family for obvious reasons . . . It’s something that we don’t control. We’re fighting an invisible enemy.”
The Sox are one of six teams yet to have 85 percent of their core group of players, coaches and staffers vaccinated.
Landing spot for Gonzalez
Marwin Gonzalez was designated for assignment, then released by the Sox earlier this month. But the utility player found a landing spot Friday with his old team, signing a minor league deal with the Astros.
Gonzalez was one of the better Sox defenders up the middle, particularly at second base, and provided a veteran presence for the club. Nevertheless, he couldn’t get going with the bat, slashing .202/.281/285 in 271 plate appearances.
Eovaldi next in rotation
Nate Eovaldi takes the ball against Cleveland’s Cal Quantrill on Saturday, and Tanner Houck will pitch Sunday in the series finale against the Indians’ Eli Morgan. Houck has a 3.43 ERA in 39⅓ innings this year. He tossed 4⅔ innings in his most recent start against the Twins, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out six.
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