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Scoreboard roundup -- 5/16/21

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(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from yesterday's games:

INTERLEAGUE

Final  Tampa Bay  12  N.Y. Mets      5

Final  Detroit     9  Chicago Cubs   8

Final  Toronto     4  Philadelphia   0

   ------

   AMERICAN LEAGUE

Final  Minnesota      5  Oakland             4

Final  Boston         9  L.A. Angels         0

Final  N.Y. Yankees   8  Baltimore           2

Final  Kansas City    5  Chicago White Sox   1

Final  Houston        6  Texas               5

Final  Seattle        7  Cleveland           3

   ------

   NATIONAL LEAGUE

Final  Atlanta        5  Milwaukee       1

Final  Pittsburgh     8  San Francisco   6

Final  Arizona       11  Washington      4

Final  San Diego     13  St. Louis       3

Final  Cincinnati     6  Colorado        5

Final  L.A. Dodgers   7  Miami           0

   ------

   NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Final  Brooklyn     105  Chicago      91

  Final OT  New York     118  Charlotte    109

Final  L.A. Lakers  122  Indiana      115

Final  Phoenix      140  San Antonio  103

Final  Boston       124  Minnesota    108

Final  Milwaukee    122  Miami        108

   ------

   NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS

Final  Vancouver    4  Edmonton   1

  Final OT  Washington   3  Boston     2

   ------

   WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Final  Chicago  70  Washington  56

Final  Seattle  97  Las Vegas   83

   ------

   MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

  Final tie  Toronto FC     1  New York City FC   1

Final  LA Galaxy      2  Austin FC          0

Final  Atlanta        1  Montreal           0

Final  Philadelphia   1  New York           0

Final  Minnesota      1  FC Dallas          0

Final  Colorado       3  Houston            1

  Final tie  Nashville      0  Real Salt Lake     0

Final  Portland       2  San Jose           0

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rombauer wins 2021 Preakness Stakes

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(BALTIMORE) -- Rombauer beat out Midnight Bourbon and Medina Spirit to win the 2021 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Midnight Bourbon and Medina Spirit finished second and third respectively.

Rombauer entered the final stretch of the race in third before taking the lead to comfortably win the race.

The win for Rombauer comes amid the ongoing controversy facing Medina Spirit and his win at the Kentucky Derby. The horse tested positive for a steroid after that race but managed to clear three additional pre-race tests ahead of the Preakness.

Jockey Flavien Prat rode Rombauer to victory, making it the second win for Prat in a Triple Crown event after his win at the 2019 Kentucky Derby with Country House.

The win was the first for trainer Michael McCarthy at the Preakness and his first at a Triple Crown event as well.

Rombauer entered the race as a longshot underdog at 11-1 odds.

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Slugger Albert Pujols signs with Dodgers for the remainder of the season: Report

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(LOS ANGELES) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers and first baseman Albert Pujols have reached an agreement on a major league deal that would keep Pujols on the Dodgers for the rest of the season, sources told ESPN. The story was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Pujols was designated for assignment by the Angels last week before being released by the team on Thursday.

The 41-year-old is in the final year of his massive 10-year, $240 million contract that he signed with the Angels. The Angels are still responsible for Pujols' $30 million salary, while the Dodgers would only have to pay a prorated share of the $570,500 league minimum salary.

Pujols is hitting .198 with 5 home runs and 12 RBI this season in 92 plate appearances.

It remains to be seen how the Dodgers will use Pujols. Infielder Max Muncy has started most of the team's games at first base but has played games at second and third base for the Dodgers before.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Former NBA champion Ben Wallace to be inducted in 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame

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(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) -- Former NBA champion and four-time All-Star Ben Wallace is set to be inducted in the 2021 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame according to an ESPN source. Wallace spent 17 years in the league, 9 of them with the Detroit Pistons. 

Wallace along with the rest of the 2021 class will be announced in Springfield, Massachusetts on Sunday.

Best known for his defense, Wallace won defensive player of the year four times in five years, made six NBA All-Defensive teams and is the Pistons all-time leader in blocks with 1,486. Wallace went undrafted in the 1996 NBA draft, before winning his first NBA Championship with the Pistons in 2004, helping them upset the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. 

The White Hall, Alabama native played two seasons at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio before transferring to play NCAA Division II basketball at Virginia Union University.  He led the Panthers to the 1996 Division II Final Four before losing to Northern Kentucky. 

The Detroit Pistons retired Wallace's No. 3 jersey on January 16th, 2016, raising it to the rafters during a halftime ceremony. Wallace was announced as a co-ownership partner of the NBA G-League's Grand Rapids Drive in 2018.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


North Carolina teen athlete speaks out after being forced to cut hair

Julius Pyles

(DURHAM, N.C.) --  Nicole Pyles, a 16-year-old high school student from Durham, North Carolina, spoke with ABC News' Zachary Kiesch after she was forced to cut her hair to continue playing in a softball game.

Pyles, a Black student who attends Hillside High School, said her team was in the lead during the second inning against a Jordan High School softball team on April 19 when an umpire told her he was unable to see her uniform number due to her hairstyle. She was wearing beaded braids during her team's final home game of the season, a hairstyle she says she has worn in several games prior.

Pyles said she had tucked decorative braids into her shirt and sports bra initially, but after a second complaint, she said the umpire told her the hair beads violated the rules.

The National Federation of State High School Associations, which helps provide uniform playing rules for high school athletics across the nation, prohibits student-athletes from wearing hair beads, bandanas and plastic visors on the softball field.

When given the choice to remove the beads or stop playing, Pyles said she was forced to cut her braids.

"I felt disrespected and I felt humiliated," Pyles said.

"I truly felt like in my heart that it was not a choice … That's my team, so I will stand by them no matter what," she continued, adding, "Beads are not going to be the reason we don't win a game."

Pyles said she felt singled out following the second complaint.

"My hair means a lot to me ... I'm not going to let braids take away from who I am on the field and off the field, but it is a part of me and no, I don't want that to be stripped away from me," Pyles added.

Dr. Karissa Niehoff, executive director of NFHS, told ABC News the rules are created to ensure sports participants are safe during the games.

"We want to make sure that if anything is in the hair, or on the head, it can fit snugly under a helmet so that the fit of the helmet isn't compromised. The rule was never intended to address any kind of prohibition of a culture or ethnic group or even a hairstyle that might be most comfortable for a participant," Neihoff said.

Que Tucker, commissioner for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, which is a member of the NFHS and helps implement rules in high schools across the state, issued a statement on the incident on May 12, stating the rule against hair beads is not new.

"As a member of the NFHS, the NCHSAA follows all NFHS playing rules and regulations, including Softball rule 3-2-5 which states, 'plastic visors, bandanas, and hair-beads are prohibited," Tucker said in a statement.

"This is not a new rule, and when the violation was noticed by an umpire, the proper determination of illegal equipment was verified as supported by NFHS rule. Further, according to NFHS Softball Rule 3-5-1, before the start of a contest, it is the responsibility of each coach to verify to the plate umpire that all his or her players are legally equipped and that players and equipment are in compliance with all NFHS rules," the statement continued.

"We empathize with the student-athlete and her experience. It is truly unfortunate, as we believe this situation should never have occurred. The NCHSAA expectation is that coaches will know the playing rules and ensure that their players are also aware of them prior to participating in any athletic contest," Tucker said.

Neihoff said the incident could have been handled differently.

"When there's a rule that might be of concern to a young person, there's always a way to communicate ... Perhaps even let the contest occur, then afterward, deal with the communication if there's a misunderstanding or if there's been inconsistency in rule application." Neihoff said.

"It's most unfortunate that her experience was one of the multiple games where it was okay, and now suddenly it's not okay, and how that was communicated and then played out is just extremely unfortunate and that would never be our intention for that to happen," Neihoff added.

Julius Pyles, the father of Nicole Pyles, told ABC News he does not believe the school district or the sports officials did enough to address the incident. He wants the Durham Public School District, the Jordan High School coaching staff and the NCHSAA to submit a formal written apology to his daughter and her teammates.

"When my child came home and I looked at her head, all it brought me back was memories of stuff that I said I never want my children to endure. And all the [school officials] are hiding behind is the damn rule, a rule that a white man comes up with" Julius Pyles said.

"I want the world to know how I feel as a Black man, and as a father that my child had to be ridiculed in order to play a simple game," he said.

Tyler Whittenburg, chief counsel for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, an organization representing the Pyles family, told ABC News that incidents like Nicole Pyles, where a student is seemingly singled out for distinct cultural or ethnic characteristics, can significantly impact self-confidence.

"This type of thing can discourage students from participating. It affects their sense of fairness and that type of trauma lasts with not just the individual, but with the family and with the community for years and years. So we really have to help to get not just that policy removed, but every policy that discriminates on Black hair to be removed so that this isn't something that any student has to go through again," Whittenburg said.

The NFHS Softball Rules Committee will meet from June 14 to June 16 for its annual assessment of its guidelines. Neihoff said the NFHS is looking at its rules to see how it can be more inclusive to reflect a more diverse body of student-athletes across the country.

""We've become a learning organization we're watching our kids become more diverse … So we're having to really consider things that are within our rules with a new lens, and that one might be cultural, as we go through the rules considerations and change process. We hope that everyone involved in implementing a sports experience can implement rules but do so with some common sense, and a consideration for how rules might be communicated. We would never intend for a young person to be feeling anything in the way of humiliation, embarrassment, certainly, an affront to their culture or their race or their ethnicity, their religious background," Neihoff said.

Durham Public Schools released a statement on Wednesday calling the ban on hair beads "problematic."

"As reflected in our school board's unanimous resolution in support of the CROWN Act, (an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair, legislation banning hair discrimination) Durham Public Schools supports our students' right to free expression and opposes unreasonable or biased restrictions on Black women's hairstyles," the statement read.

Durham Public Schools also said in its statement that it does not "prohibit beads in hair" and that "there was no involvement by any Jordan High staff member bringing the violation to the game officials' attention. DPS supports our student-athletes and their right to self-expression in a manner befitting their culture, consistent with safety in training and competition."

"We believe the blanket ban on hair beads is culturally biased and problematic. We support our student, Nicole Pyles, and believe this rule should be amended. We frown on any rule or policy that promotes cultural insensitivity or does not reflect the ideals and principles of DPS and our employees," the statement continued.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard Roundup - 5/14/21

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(New York) -- Here are the scores from Friday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
 Final  Chicago Cubs   4  Detroit     2
 Final  Tampa Bay      3  N.Y. Mets   2
 Final  Philadelphia   5  Toronto     1
   
AMERICAN LEAGUE
 Final  Kansas City         6  Chicago White Sox   2
 Final  Boston              4  L.A. Angels         3
 Final  N.Y. Yankees        5  Baltimore           4
 Final  Chicago White Sox   3  Kansas City         1
 Final  Oakland             6  Minnesota           1
 Final  Houston            10  Texas               4
 Final  Seattle             7  Cleveland           3
  
NATIONAL LEAGUE
 Final  Pittsburgh     3  San Francisco   2
 Final  Atlanta        6  Milwaukee       3
 Final  Colorado       9  Cincinnati      6
 Final  Washington    17  Arizona         2
 Final  L.A. Dodgers   9  Miami           6
 Final  San Diego      5  St. Louis       4
 
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
 Final  Washington    120  Cleveland      105
 Final  Denver        104  Detroit        91
 Final  Utah          109  Oklahoma City  93
 Final  Philadelphia  122  Orlando        97
 Final  Houston       122  L.A. Clippers  115
 Final  Memphis       107  Sacramento     106
 Final  Dallas        114  Toronto        110
 Final  Golden State  125  New Orleans    122


NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
 Final  Winnipeg   4  Toronto   2
   
WOMEN'S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
 Final  New York     90  Indiana      87
 Final  Connecticut  78  Atlanta      67
 Final  Phoenix      77  Minnesota    75
 Final  Dallas       94  Los Angeles  71

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kobe Bryant to be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame 

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(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) -- Late NBA star Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend. The presentation will be made by all-time great Michael Jordan, who also spoke at the Bryant's memorial service. Bryant's widow, Vanessa, will reportedly speak as well.

Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in California last January, that also claimed the lives of his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others.

Bryant played 20 seasons in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships, and was named Most Valuable Player in 2008. 

Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are among the others being enshrined this weekend, as part of the class of 2020. This weekend's ceremony is a make-up, after the original one was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The class of 2021 will be inducted later this year.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


NHL needs answer on Canadian border restrictions by June 1

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(NEW YORK) -- The NHL has told the Canadian government they need an answer on whether they will be exempt from coronavirus-related travel restrictions by June 1st, ESPN reports.

"The conversations are ongoing. We've told them we really do need to know by the end of the first round, and that's around June 1. That's pretty much the date that we've talked to them about, saying we have to know one way or another," Steve Mayer, NHL chief content officer, told ESPN on Friday.

The Stanley Cup playoffs begin this weekend, but current restrictions mean American teams would be prohibited from playing in Canada, without first undergoing quarantines that would drastically alter the postseason schedule. 

That won't end up being an issue until the third round of the playoffs though, as the first two rounds will be played within the four newly created divisions, including the North Division, which includes all Canadian teams. All of the American teams play in the other three divisions, meaning the first possible meeting between an American and a Canadian team will not happen until that third round.

The NHL has felt confident that they will get an exemption from the Canadian government, due to it's stringent COVID protocols and an increasingly high number of players and staff members getting vaccinated, according to ESPN.

If an exemption is not given, the NHL is considering the possibility of housing the Canadian team that reaches the third round at the arena of a US-based team that did not make the playoffs. Mayer told ESPN the league has had talks with a couple Americans teams about just that.

But an NHL source told ESPN this week that the league expects "a positive resolution" to the border issue before the third round. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Seimone Augustus retires from WNBA, joins Sparks’ coaching staff

Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

(LOS ANGELES) -- After 15 years in the WNBA, Seimone Augustus is retiring. But her time on the court isn’t over just yet.

The four-time WNBA champion is joining the Los Angeles Sparks’ coaching staff, the team announced on Thursday.

“It’s an honor to continue to serve the game that has given me so much,” Augustus said in a statement. “I’m excited to join the Sparks staff and look forward to developing in this new role.”

The 37-year-old former forward joined the WNBA in 2006 when she was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx as the No. 1 overall pick. During her time in the league, Augustus won four championships (2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017), made eight All-Star appearances (2006, 2007, 2001, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018) and won three Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball (2008, 2012 and 2016).

She joined the Sparks last year as a free agent.

“Seimone Augustus is one of the greatest basketball players to ever step foot on a court,” Sparks head coach and general manager Derek Fisher said in a statement. “Her impact as a pioneer in our sport can be seen through all the players and people she’s impacted in this game. It’s been an amazing honor to work with her over the past year and we’re excited to add all of her wisdom to our coaching staff.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup -- 5/13/21

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(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Toronto 8, Atlanta 4

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Detroit 4, Kansas City 3
Chi White Sox 4, Minnesota 2
Boston 8, Oakland 1
Tampa Bay 9, NY Yankees 1
Houston 4, Texas 3
Cleveland 4, Seattle 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Washington 5, Philadelphia 1
St. Louis 2, Milwaukee 0
San Francisco 3, Pittsburgh 1
Colorado 13, Cincinnati 8
Miami 5, Arizona 1

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
LA Clippers 113, Charlotte 90
Milwaukee 142, Indiana 133
Atlanta 116, Orlando 93
New York 102, San Antonio 98
Miami 106, Philadelphia 94
Chicago 114, Toronto 102
Denver 114, Minnesota 103
Memphis 116, Sacramento 110
Phoenix 118, Portland 117

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
St. Louis 7, Minnesota 3
Calgary 4, Vancouver 1
Colorado 5, Los Angeles 1

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
D.C. United 1, Chicago 0

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Yankees Torres tests positive for COVID-19, 8th member of team

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(NEW YORK) -- The New York Yankees have announced infielder Gleyber Torres has tested positive for COVID-19.

The team says he was fully vaccinated and had previously tested positive for the virus during the last offseason. Torres has been placed on the COVID-19 injured list.

He becomes the eighth Yankee player, coach, or traveling staff member to test positive this week. All eight are fully vaccinated.

Pitching coach Matt Blake, third base coach Phil Nevins, first base coach Reggie Willits, and four traveling staff members tested positive and are currently under quarantine in Tampa, Florida.

Before the announcement, sources told ESPN the Yankees were going to keep Torres out of the lineup for the second straight day. On Wednesday, Manager Aaron Boone said they were holding him out "out of an abundance of caution."

The Yankees have called up Miguel Andújar from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


NBA creates Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award

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(NEW YORK) -- The NBA has announced the creation of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

The award is named after the six-time NBA Champion and Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer.

It will honor the NBA player who pursues social justice and upholds the league's decades-long values of equality, respect, and inclusion.

"I’m honored and grateful to be associated with this award that will recognize the dedicated and selfless people fighting to promote social justice for all marginalized people,” said Abdul-Jabbar. “To me, it’s another giant step in the right direction for the country and all people who value equality.”

The winner selects an organization to give $100,000 to go on his behalf. The four other finalists will get $25,000 to give to an organization they chose.

“In addition to being one of our greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has devoted much of his life to advocating for equality and social justice,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “With this new award, we are proud to recognize and celebrate NBA players who are using their influence to make an impact on their communities and our broader society.”

Each team will select one player from their roster to be nominated. The finalists and winner will be chosen from a panel of former players, league executives, and social justice leaders.

The winner and other finalists will be announced during the playoffs.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


What DiDi Richards is most excited about ahead of her first WNBA season

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- DiDi Richards is what hoop dreams are made of and before the basketball star tips off her WNBA career on Friday, she credited a trait she learned from her father that helped her get back on the court after a severe injury last fall.

"He definitely instilled mental toughness throughout my life and when that injury happened it was kind of second nature. I just knew that I had an undeniable mindset that I was going to work hard and I was going to figure out how to get back on the court, but first off how to walk," Richards told ABC News' Good Morning America.

The former Baylor Lady Bears star guard was in the midst of her senior season when a play during practice last October went horribly wrong. As Richards went airborne attempting to intercept a pass, she collided with teammate Moon Ursin at full speed and hit the floor, sustaining a spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality that causes temporary impairment and later experienced temporary paralysis from the hips down, ESPN first reported.

Within 38 days after recovery and rehab, Richards made it back onto the court notching four points, seven assists and two steals in a 67-62 victory over South Florida.

Richards called the recovery process "an emotional roller coaster."

"One day I could feel my toes and then the next day I couldn't feel them," she said. "So it was just being able to kind of cope with [knowing] every day was subject to change -- and being able to keep a positive mindset through it all."

Tomorrow the 22-year-old from Cypress, Texas, will lace up for the first time with the New York Liberty and join an elite list of professional women in the league's 25th season.

"I think I can speak for all young kids, you have dreams and inspirations and mine was to be drafted," Richards said. "Now being a part of one of the 144 girls that are even playing in the WNBA, one of the best leagues in the world, is pretty special and it's hard to put into words."

While Richards said she's "very competitive," she initially cared more about "being super girly and cute" than hitting three-pointers on the court.

"Sweating does not involve cute," she said with a laugh. "So [basketball] really wasn't something I wanted to do -- but I'm happy my parents pushed me."

Now, heading into her rookie season, Richards said she is most looking forward to playing against the women she's looked up to for decades in the sport.

"I think it's exciting to be able to learn from Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and now being able to see Candace Parker on the court -- or to watch Breanna Stewart and maybe one day play against her and the Seattle Storm -- It's kind of exciting," she said.

Richards and the New York Liberty will take on the Indiana Fever at 7:00 P.M. ET on NBA TV.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Report: Packers signing quarterback Blake Bortles to one-year deal

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(GREEN BAY, Wis.) -- Amid uncertainty surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team, the Green Bay Packers have reportedly added another quarterback to their roster.

A source tells ESPN the team is signing quarterback Blake Bortles to a one-year deal.

Bortles, 29, was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014 and last played in a regular season game with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. Last season, he spent time as a backup quarterback with the Rams and Denver Broncos.

His addition to Green Bay’s roster ups the team’s number of quarterbacks to three. Previously, the Packers only had Rodgers and Jordan Love.

ESPN also reports that two quarterbacks, journeymen Chad Kelly and Kurt Benkert, will be joining the team this weekend for its rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

All these developments come as it remains to be seen whether Rodgers will remain in Green Bay. The 37-year-old starting quarterback has told some within the Packers’ organization that he no longer wants to be a part of the team, according to ESPN.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Yankees confirm seven COVID-19 cases on staff, hold Gleyber Torres out of lineup

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(NEW YORK) -- Seven members of the New York Yankees’ coaching and support staff have tested positive for COVID-19, manager Aaron Boone announced Wednesday before the team took on the Tampa Bay Rays.

Among those who tested positive are pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin and first-base coach Reggie Willits, along with four non-coach support staff members. All seven individuals have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Out of an "abundance of caution,” shortstop Gleyber Torres was also held out of Wednesday night’s lineup against the Rays as the Yankees were “waiting on some test results to still come back,” Boone told reporters.

"I know everyone is going to read into that, but hopefully it's nothing,'' he said. "It's more just getting all the information in.”

Tyler Wade stepped in to fill Torres’ position, and the team went on to beat the Rays, 1-0.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Will the St. Louis Cardinals make the playoffs this year?