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Yankees 3B coach Phil Nevin, 1B coach Reggie Willits test positive for COVID-19

Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin, first base coach Reggie Willits and at least one other staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced, with others still going through testing and contact tracing.

All three members of the organization were fully vaccinated prior to this breakout.

Nevin was put under quarantine protocol prior to Tuesday’s game in Tampa.

“He’s doing alright,” Aaron Boone said of Nevin. “He’s quarantining right now, but he’s doing OK.

With additional testing and contact tracing is still ongoing within the organization, Boone told reporters via Zoom after Tuesday’s game that another staff member tested positive as well.

“We do have a second confirmed positive, it’s a staff member. But beyond that, nothing else is confirmed,” Boone said.

The Yankees then announced that Willits, who was held out of Tuesday’s game, tested positive as well.

“We prepare tonight as though we’re playing tomorrow and getting ready for tomorrow, and hope that we avoid anymore hiccups or potential positives and things like that. But we are planning on playing,” Boone said.

Boone added that things have been made a bit easier knowing that most of the players on the team have already been vaccinated.

“…Even though we’ve all learned that playing through a pandemic, going back to last year, I guess nothing really surprises you — but still it does catch you off guard a little bit when you do get that news. I don’t think we’ve had a case since before the start of last year, so it definitely hits you, especially as we’ve moved through in this vaccination phase.”

Carlos Mendoza, who is typically the Yankees’ bench coach, went to third Tuesday, while Mario Garza replaced Willits at first base.

“A little bit of a skeleton staff,” Boone said on some missing guys in the clubhouse. “But nothing we can’t handle.”

Gerrit Cole, who said he’s been “tag-teaming” union player rep duties with Zack Britton while Britton’s been away from the team, also spoke on Tuesday.

Cole said that the Yankees players have spoken as a group about the situation, and, as a whole, the Yankees felt comfortable pressing through and playing Tuesday’s game as scheduled.

“We spoke together as a group of players to see what we’re all feeling, how we’re all dealing with this, what can we do to protect ourselves, kind of just lay out the land for the next few days,” Cole explained. “We’ve been in contact with both sides, again with the joint committee in terms of what we can legally do and what we’re comfortable with and what the doctors are saying about our environment. That’s really about all we can do.

“I think as a whole we’re looking to press on. Again, different levels of comfortability across the club. So, we’re just trying to accommodate that and stick together as a group and make sure everybody is in a good spot to perform tonight, and I think we felt confident as a group that we could do that.”