Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts has tested positive for COVID-19, the team informed reporters (including Chris Cotillo of MassLive). He was removed in the second inning of this evening’s game after the team became aware of the result. Bogaerts becomes the sixth Boston player to test positive in recent days. He’ll join Kiké Hernández, Christian Arroyo, Martín Pérez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura and Josh Taylor (who is in isolation as a close contact) on the COVID IL.
None of those losses will be tougher to overcome than that of Bogaerts, who is among the sport’s best overall performers. The 28-year-old shortstop has a fantastic .298/.366/.501 line with twenty home runs over 519 plate appearances this summer. That showing earned Bogaerts his third career All-Star selection. By FanGraphs’ version of wins above replacement, Bogaerts ranks as the game’s thirteenth most valuable position player this season.
When Bogaerts departed, the Sox slid Jonathan Araúz over from second base to shortstop. Yairo Muñoz stepped into the lineup at second. That duo looks to be the likeliest middle infield tandem for the Red Sox over the next week-plus while Bogaerts recuperates.
The Red Sox will have to continue to rely upon their depth options as they navigate a difficult stretch on the schedule. Boston has series against the Rays, Indians, Rays again and White Sox through the end of next week. The Red Sox entered play tonight leading the A’s by two games for the final American League playoff spot.