Red Sox

Adam Ottavino reportedly ‘got pretty annoyed’ by Red Sox teammates not taking COVID protocol seriously

Twelve Red Sox players have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 27.

Adam Ottavino didn't test positive during the Red Sox' COVID-19 outbreak, but said he felt uncomfortable being around other players when it happened. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

As the Red Sox entered the final month of the regular season, a COVID-19 outbreak entered their clubhouse.

Since Aug. 27, 12 Red Sox players and two staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, causing the team to consistently shuffle its roster as it fights for a playoff berth.

A new report featuring interviews with more than a dozen Red Sox players and coaches from The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier detailed what the Red Sox clubhouse has been like since the outbreak began. In it, second baseman Christian Arroyo, reliever Josh Taylor, and first base Tom Goodwin were named as people on the team who are unvaccinated.

Due to their vaccination status, all three were either placed on the COVID-related injured list or forced to quarantine even though they hadn’t tested positive because they were close contacts. Arroyo tested positive two days after getting placed on the COVID-related IL, which he’s been on since Aug. 27.


The Red Sox are one of six teams below the 85 percent vaccination threshold for Tier 1 employees, which is made up of Red Sox players and coaching staff as well as Triple-A Worcester’s players and coaching staff.

Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino shared how uncomfortable he was being around his team during the start of the outbreak.

“We had a player that was taken out of our team and he didn’t have COVID; it was just because he was deemed a close contact and unvaccinated,” Ottavino told Speier.

“I got pretty annoyed with that fact — not necessarily individually to the point of having a problem with anybody. I love all my teammates. But I just felt like that’s a certain part of the protocol that, like, maybe guys didn’t take seriously enough in their decision-making process [about whether to vaccinate].

“I just didn’t even want to be around anybody. I was going in the weight room by myself and watching the game. The first game, I didn’t go out to the bullpen until the eighth inning. I was like, ‘Why do I want to hang out with anybody?’”


Ottavino hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19, but four of his fellow relievers and two starting pitchers, including Chris Sale, have tested positive during the outbreak.

One of the relievers who did test positive was Matt Barnes, who is vaccinated. He shared with Speier that the Red Sox’ locker room during a three-plus hour rain delay in Cleveland on Aug. 29, two days after the first positive COVID-19 test, may have led to the outbreak.

“Not everybody has [a mask] on, just to be frank,” Barnes said. “Everybody’s sitting around or hanging out with guys or talking, playing cards, doing whatever. That three-hour delay might have just been a breeding ground for [COVID].”

Following the initial positives in Cleveland, the Red Sox ramped up their testing before traveling.

“The testing before each flight wasn’t a league thing; that was the Red Sox going above and beyond,” Barnes said.

The testing included vaccinated players and staffers, who don’t have to be tested according to MLB protocol unless they were exposed to someone who tested positive or showed COVID-related symptoms.

Despite all the consistent roster shuffling over the last three weeks, the Red Sox have gone 10-9 since Aug. 27. They still hold one of the AL wild-card spots, too.


“Take a step back and realize that this team lost [13 players to the COVID IL] we and was able to still maintain a playoff position,” Barnes said. “I think it’s a very defining moment and kind of just shows the kind of team that we have.”

*Correction: An earlier version of this story said quality control coach Ramon Vazquez is unvaccinated. Vazquez is vaccinated while first base coach Tom Goodwin isn’t and had to go into quarantine during the outbreak. We apologize for the error.

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