Yankees coach Phil Nevin tests positive for COVID-19 in ‘breakthrough’ case

Yankees coach Phil Nevin tests positive for COVID-19 in ‘breakthrough’ case

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin tested positive for COVID-19 in what was called a “breakthrough” case because he is fully vaccinated, the team announced before Tuesday’s game against the Rays.

Aaron Boone said there are other staff members and coaches whose tests are “still pending’’ and some staff members were sent home.

First base coach Reggie Willits also wasn’t with the team Tuesday. Mario Garza, the organization’s coordinator of baseball development, is filling in at first, while bench coach Carlos Mendoza is coaching third in place of the 50-year-old Nevin.

No players were impacted by the potential outbreak, according to Boone and Tuesday’s game was scheduled to be played.

Some staff was sent home out of “an abundance of caution,” if there was “any bit of a gray area,” Boone said.

Boone said the team would be operating with “a little bit of a skeleton staff [Tuesday], but nothing we can’t handle.”

Asked about his own health status Boone said, “I did not fall into that [category].”

Since the Yankees in early April reached the 85 percent vaccination threshold set by Major League Baseball, they had been able to relax some protocols, something Boone added they would revisit given the situation.

Boone, who hadn’t worn a mask in the dugout since they’d met the threshold, said he would wear one Tuesday night.

While the vaccines being offered in the US are effective in preventing infection and severe cases of the disease caused by COVID-19, there have been “a small percentage” of fully vaccinated people who have tested positive for the virus in so-called “breakthrough” cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nevin and other Yankees received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Gerrit Cole, who along with the injured Zack Britton, is serving as the union representative, said the players met Tuesday and decided to go ahead with the game.

“We spoke together as a group of players to see what we were all feeling and how we were dealing with this and how to protect ourselves,’’ Cole said.

“As a whole, we were looking to press on,’’ Cole said. “There were different levels of comfortability across the club. We’re trying to make sure everybody was in a good spot to perform and felt confident as a group we could do that.”

Cole added they’d been in touch with the league and done “about all we could do” in regards to safety.

Boone said while the team is “way more equipped to deal with” a positive test, it “still stops you in your tracks.”