PAWTUCKET — Major League Baseball’s first significant COVID-19 outbreak of the 2020 season isn’t lost on those at McCoy Stadium — members of the Red Sox taxi squad.
“We have that talk every day prior to stretching during one-on-one interaction,” Pawtucket Red Sox manager Billy McMillon said after Tuesday’s intrasquad scrimmage was brought to a premature halt due to rain.
“[Monday] was one of those days where after we heard what happened with Miami, it was kind of a wake-up call to our guys. What I noticed [Tuesday] is that more guys were wearing their mask inside the clubhouse,” he added.
Going a step further, Red Sox power-hitting prospect Bobby Dalbec sported a protective face covering when he was on defense Tuesday. Dalbec tested positive for the coronavirus but was asymptomatic.
The Marlins are taking a temporary break from their season after 15 players and two coaches tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s anyone’s guess just how long the National League ballclub will remain out of commission, though the team’s sticky situation does raise the importance of taxi squads as far as providing depth.
“They could be getting that call any day,” McMillon said. “We’ll continue to harp on that.”
Connor Wong, one of the prospects the Red Sox received in the Mookie Betts trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, said the importance of practicing social distancing in wake of what’s transpired with the Marlins cannot be understated.
“This thing is real and its scary,” said Wong, a 24-year-old catcher who was selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the 2017 draft. “I’m glad that this thing is being taken seriously in the Northeast. Everyone is about wearing a mask. It’s something you have to deal with, but it’s no big deal when you consider that we still get to play the game.”
Staying at a hotel in Providence, Wong says he’s only been out to eat once. For the most part, he either takes food home from McCoy or checks out what Uber Eats has to offer.
“Right now, my most popular food on Uber Eats is buffalo chicken calzone. I’ve probably had that six times since I’ve been here,” Wong said.
EXTRA BASES: Per McMillon, it was another step in the right direction for Josh Taylor on Tuesday. Working his way back from COVID-19, Taylor threw live batting practice. Darwinzon Hernandez is scheduled to take the mound prior to Wednesday’s scrimmage. Hernandez is also on the comeback trail after suffering from the coronavirus. “Maybe by the weekend or early next week, we’ll have a defense behind them,” McMillon said. “So far, both of them look like they’re ready to go up and help Boston.” … The Red Sox are keeping Tanner Houck on a starter’s schedule. His first experience facing live hitters since mid-March was a struggle. He allowed a two-run home run, issued a walk, and hit a batter as part of the five batters he faced in the first inning. The right-hander also hit a batter in his second inning. … Hitting home runs Tuesday were Jeter Downs and Marco Hernandez.