Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees to play Friday after COVID-19 postponement

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will return to action Friday night after positive COVID-19 tests for Yankees players caused Thursday's game to be postponed.

Including rapid testing conducted Friday afternoon, there have been no new positive cases, the Yankees announced.

All six of the Yankees' cases from Thursday have now been confirmed, with Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela and Kyle Higashioka officially joining Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta on the COVID-19 injured list.

Manager Aaron Boone said he expects the players who have tested positive to miss at least 10 days. Some of the players have shown symptoms, though Boone said nothing was severe.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole compared the news to being struck by "an invisible, microscopic truck.''

Said Boone: "That's our reality right now. We have to go make the best of it.''

First baseman Chris Gittens and outfielder Trey Amburgey are in the Yankees' lineup for Friday's game, while catcher Rob Brantly, outfielder Greg Allen and infielder Hoy Jun Park will be on the bench.

In an unrelated move, New York placed Luke Voit on the injured list with a bone bruise in his left knee.

Thursday's game will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Aug. 17.

While the rash of positives threw into flux the immediate future of a Yankees team still trying to determine how it will approach the July 30 trade deadline, Judge's inclusion rippled across the league, with players who participated in Tuesday's All-Star Game flying across the country to play a full slate of games Friday.

Unvaccinated All-Stars were tested for COVID-19 while in Denver for the game, and all of the tests came back negative, MLB said.

"I hate to see this,'' Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "I hate to see it, but hopefully it's only one team. I don't know if that's going to be the case.''

The Yankees, who are in fourth place in the American League East at 46-43, are hoping to put a dent in Boston's eight-game advantage. The Red Sox swept both three-game series against New York in the season's first half, and the teams were scheduled to play eight games over the next week and a half as the trade deadline approaches and the Yankees figure out whether to contend for a playoff spot, punt on the season or hold as is.

This is the second COVID outbreak on the Yankees this year despite the team exceeding the 85% vaccination threshold that allows teams to enjoy relaxed protocols. In May, more than a half-dozen Yankees coaches, including pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin and first-base coach Reggie Willits, tested positive. Nevin spent three weeks in the hospital but credited being vaccinated with saving him from a worse outcome.

Among the six Yankees players currently with positive tests, the majority had received a COVID-19 vaccine and were asymptomatic, general manager Brian Cashman said. Loaisiga went on the COVID-19 injured list Saturday, when the Yankees were in Houston, and did not travel home with the team Sunday.

Thursday's postponement was the eighth related to COVID-19 this season but the first in nearly three months. Also delayed were a three-game series between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals on April 1-4 and Atlanta's game at the Nationals on April 5, two Minnesota Twins-Los Angeles Angels games on April 17-18 and a Twins-Oakland Athletics game on April 19.

There were 45 regular-season games postponed for virus-related reasons last year with two not made up.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.