So much for the COVID-19 outbreak at Red Sox camp.
Two days after it was revealed that reliever Matt Barnes tested positive and eight others who were in close contact were being separated from the rest of the team, the Red Sox announced that Barnes and the others could return to camp.
“Matt and the contacts are cleared,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom texted the Herald on Monday.
Bloom offered no further details and deferred to manager Alex Cora, who didn’t have much to share about it after the Sox’ 4-0 win over the Braves.
“I just heard about it,” Cora said. “I haven’t talked to (anyone in the front office), but I know he got cleared by the (MLB joint committee), so I don’t know about the details. I’m just happy that he’s going to be back with us and it seems like we’re going to be at full strength in a few days.”
The New York Post reported that Barnes’ test result was a “non-infectious positive,” though it remains unclear what that means. The Boston Globe reported that Barnes had tested negative multiple times after the original positive.
Cora said earlier Monday morning that Barnes wasn’t feeling any symptoms, feels great and was surprised by the positive test.
“He had the interview and he explained to everybody what he’s done and where he’s been,” Cora said. “He’s been very solid about keeping the protocols and the guidelines.”
Barnes wasn’t scheduled to fly with the team back to Boston on Tuesday, but plans could change. It remains unclear if Barnes will be ready to pitch on Opening Day on Thursday.
“I think it’s too soon to make decisions,” Cora said. “I’m just happy that they’re gonna be with us, that’s the most important thing.”
Garrett Richards had been one of the eight in close contact and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to make his first start.
“He stayed at home,” Cora said. “Probably he was throwing against the wall, I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about any specifics but I’m about to find out.”