After being deemed a close contact to Red Sox super utility man Kiké Hernández, who tested positive Friday for COVID-19, infielder Christian Arroyo has tested positive for the virus along with Sox strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose.
As the Sox wrapped up their series against Cleveland and traveled to face the Tampa Bay Rays, the group had to stay behind to quarantine in Cleveland. The organization is in the process of contact tracing.
With two infielders in COVID protocols, the Sox will have to evaluate their infield depth going forward. Danny Santana, on the disabled list since July 22 with a left groin strain, continued his rehab assignment Sunday in Double A Portland, going 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs and a fifth-inning homer and two RBIs in the Sea Dogs’ 8-5 loss to Reading.
That depth was immediately tested when second baseman Jonathan Araúz left the game, appearing to injure his hip fouling off a pitch in the third inning. He was replaced in the fourth by Yairo Muñoz.
“We’ll talk about it throughout the day and then we’ll decide what we’re going to do for the Tampa series,” Sox manager Alex Cora said before Sunday’s series finale with the Indians.
Cora acknowledged some concern that the 26-man roster might be vulnerable.
“I’m always concerned because they guys work out, right?” Cora said.
Arroyo is the 11th Red Sox player to go on the COVID-related injured list this season. Bench coach Will Venable tested positive and was away from the team for 12 days, and first-base coach Tom Goodwin had to quarantine in Toronto after being in close contact.
Hunter Renfroe grieving
Hunter Renfroe is on the bereavement list as he mourns the death of his father, Todd Renfroe, who died Thursday in their hometown of Crystal Springs, Miss., after a four-year battle with cancer.
Renfroe posted a message on Instagram honoring his father.
“He fought the good fight and he won the race,” Renfroe wrote. “Cancer was a hard fought battle for four long years, but now he is pain free and in the arms of Jesus. He now has the best seat in the house to watch me achieve all my dreams.”
Cora said he’s been in touch with Renfroe and is respecting his space during a time of loss.
“I’ve been in contact with him, but that’s where I leave it at,” Cora said. “I’m not sure when he’s coming back . . . But you’ve got to respect his family, respect where he’s at ad obviously we’re thinking and praying for them.”
Rotation for Rays
Nick Pivetta will throw Monday’s series opener at Tampa Bay, while Tuesday’s starter is still up in the air. Chris Sale will start Wednesday and Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch Thursday.
Cora said Tuesday’s starter will depend on bullpen usage.
“It might be a bullpen day on Tuesday,” Cora said. “But obviously, if we are capable of doing a bullpen day.”
One option for Tuesday could be righthander Raynel Espinal, who was scratched just before his start Sunday for Triple-A Worcester. Espinal is 9-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 18 games (16 starts).
Sale has been able to go into his starts this season with an extra day of rest, but Cora said he will likely throw on normal rest the rest of the season.
“We’ll deal with the rotation depending how they feel,” Cora said. “We know we’re capable every five days, we got some good stuff going, but at the same time, there’s certain guys feeling it. Last year they didn’t pitch much. This year, they’ve been able to post every five or six days and there’s a few things — training and medical stuff — that it’s not red flags, but we’ve got to we got to make sure they’re full strength or close to full strength whenever they go out.”
Gearing up for Guardians
This will be the last time the Red Sox travel to Cleveland during the regular season to play the franchise as it is currently known.
The team decided in July that it would change the franchise name to the Guardians starting next season.
Cora spent the 2005 season with Cleveland and says he expects the environment to remain one of the best in baseball.
“Obviously, the organization felt that they needed to make a change, right, and we all respect that,” Cora said. “This is a great baseball place. It’s still going to be fun to come here. Even now, when they’re not at full force, obviously, and with the changes they have made on the field, it’s still a great place to come.
“It’s a great baseball town and it’s a city that we always look forward to come and play here because of the stadium, the fan base and obviously what they do competition-wise. So, you respect what they did. And at the end of day it is a great organization. They’ve done amazing things throughout and we’ll be excited to come here next year.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.