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Gleyber Torres is congratulated by Yankees Manager Aaron Boone after driving in the winning run in the 11th inning Saturday against the Washington Nationals. Torres is on the COVID-19 injured list after testing positive for the virus for a second time. Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated and having previously contracted the coronavirus during the offseason.

Torres is among eight so-called breakthrough positives among the Yankees – people who tested positive despite being fully vaccinated.

“Certainly unexpected,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said of Torres. “Obviously everyone, Major League Baseball, that’s in charge of testing is looking into that. The variants that could be out there if that is the case.”

The Yankees said the team is undergoing additional testing and contact tracing, with the assistance of the baseball commissioner’s office and its medical experts. The New York State Department of Health is advising the team.

“We’ve been rocked here the last several days,” Boone said.

Torres played in Tuesday night’s game at Tampa Bay and then was out of the lineup Wednesday night.

Also testing positive were pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin, first-base coach Reggie Willits and four members of the traveling staff.

TV CONTRACT: ESPN could be rewarded with additional playoff games under its new deal with Major League Baseball.

Walt Disney Company and MLB announced a seven-year extension of their rights agreement. ESPN has aired games since 1990 and the new deal means that will continue until at least 2028.

ESPN will exclusively air 30 regular-season games, with 25 taking place on Sunday nights. The other five will include a broadcast on opening day. ESPN also retains the rights to the Home Run Derby, which takes place the night before the All-Star Game.

The deal also includes the rights to air an expanded wild card round if it comes to fruition during talks between MLB and the Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement. ESPN and ABC aired those games last year when the playoffs were expanded due to the shortened coronavirus season.

ALBERT PUJOLS cleared waivers and is now a free agent for the second time in his career, officially bringing his tenure with the Angels to an end.

Pujols, 41, was designated for assignment May 6, a procedural move that served as the first step toward his release.

After being designated for assignment, players are placed on waivers. Because Pujols, who was in the last season of a 10-year, $240 million contract, went unclaimed, he is free to sign with any team.

A club signing Pujols would pay him only the prorated major league minimum of $570,050. The Angels are responsible for the remainder of Pujols $30 million salary this year.

It’s unclear how much interest the first baseman might get on the open market, especially without a designated hitter in the National League.

Pujols played 24 games with the Angels this season, batting .198 with a .622 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Even with five home runs, his numbers were well below league-average, as they had been the previous four seasons.

Pujols, a likely first ballot Hall of Famer with 667 career home runs, has not spoken publicly about his release, but all indications are he wants to continue playing. Now, he’ll have to wait and see whether another team gives him that chance.

PHILLIES: Philadelphia placed catcher J.T. Realmuto on the COVID-19-related injured list and recalled catcher Rafael Marchan from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Realmuto, who left Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals after taking a foul ball off his left knee, missed Wednesday’s game because of bruising and soreness. Realmuto is hitting .314 with four homers and 16 RBI. The two-time All-Star is in the first season of a five-year, $115.5 million deal.

A player goes on the COVID-19 IL by testing positive himself or for contract-tracing purposes after possibly being exposed to someone who tested positive.

Marchan made his major league debut last season, hitting .500 (4 for 8) with a homer and three RBI. The 22-year-old is hitting .250 in six games at Lehigh Valley this season.

MARINERS: The anticipated major league debuts of outfielder Jarred Kelenic and pitcher Logan Gilbert are part of a big roster reshuffling for Seattle.

Kelenic and Gilbert moved up from Triple-A Tacoma ahead of their debuts Thursday night against Cleveland. Gilbert will start on the mound, while Kelenic is expected to start in left field and bat leadoff as two of Seattle’s prized prospects finally reach the majors.

Seattle also selected right-hander Paul Sewald to bolster a taxed bullpen.

To clear space on the roster, Seattle optioned relievers Aaron Fletcher and Wyatt Mills to Tacoma, along with outfielder Taylor Trammell, whose spot is being taken by Kelenic for now. Trammell made his major league debut on opening day, but is batting .157 in 27 games. Manager Scott Servais said Trammell needs more playing time and expects he’ll be back with the major league club at some point.

Seattle also transferred left-handed pitcher Nick Margevicius and right-hander Ljay Newsome to the 60-day injured list. Margevicius has been out since April 26 with shoulder issues. Newsome may be headed toward Tommy John surgery.

Seattle also designated for assignment outfielder Braden Bishop.

BREWERS: Milwaukee will begin allowing fans to fill all the seats at American Family Field for home games on June 25. The Brewers have been filling no more than 25% of their seats for home games so far this season. They announced Tuesday they would start filling up to half the seats at American Family Field beginning with Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Braves.

Now they say they’ll be ready for fans to fill the entire stadium starting in late June. The move will take effect for a weekend series with the Colorado Rockies. American Family Field has a seating capacity of 41,900.

CUBS: Chicago has been given the go-ahead to host up to 60% of Wrigley Field’s capacity when they begin a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on May 28. That translates to an attendance of just under 25,000. Single-game tickets go on sale Tuesday to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis in seating pods of up to six people. There will be a minimum of one open seat between pods within the same row.

Fans also can secure tickets for that series through a presale program by registering for random drawings to win a chance to purchase tickets. Winners will be able to purchase a limited number of tickets. The deadline to register is Friday.

State and city officials are requiring a designated area specifically for fully vaccinated fans at Wrigley for a four-game series against the Washington Nationals that begins Monday. Those who purchase tickets will be required to present proof of vaccination and a photo ID. The Cubs’ health and safety protocols enacted at the start of the regular season will remain in place until further notice.

THURSDAY’S GAMES

BLUE JAYS 8, BRAVES 4: Bo Bichette hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the ninth inning and visiting Toronto rallied again to complete a sweep of its six games against Atlanta this season.

Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. left in the seventh inning because of an apparent left ankle injury.

Toronto trailed 2-0 and 4-3 before its 10th comeback win this season and third of the three-game series.

WHITE SOX 4, TWINS 2: Tim Anderson and Jake Lamb homered, Billy Hamilton made a leaping catch at the wall to end a bases-loaded threat and Chicago won at home for its sixth straight victory.

TIGERS 4, ROYALS 3: Michael Fulmer shut down Kansas City’s ninth-inning rally for his second save, and Detroit extended visiting Kansas City’s losing streak to 11 games.

CARDINALS 2, BREWERS 0: Jack Flaherty became the major leagues’ first seven-game winner this year, while Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes extended his streak to 58 consecutive strikeouts before his first walk.

Flaherty (7-0) allowed four hits in six innings, struck out six and walked two to help the Cardinals win a three-game series that featured dominant starting pitching.

Burnes (2-3) returned from the injured list after a positive test for coronavirus, which he said left him asymptomatic. He opted against getting vaccinated for what he said were personal reasons.

In his first appearance since April 26, Burnes struck out nine among his first 14 outs, giving him 58 strikeouts and no walks before he walked Tommy Edman with two outs in the fifth.

NATIONALS 5, PHILLIES 1: Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber hit two-run homers in the first inning, Patrick Corbin continued his resurgence with seven solid innings and host Washington ended a four-game slide.

GIANTS 3, PIRATES 1: Anthony DeSclafani allowed one hit over five scoreless innings and Steven Duggar hit his first home run in nearly two years to lead San Francisco to a win at Pittsburgh.

DeSclafani (3-1) struck out five and walked one. The lone hit off him was a first-inning single by Jacob Stallings.

RAYS 9, YANKEES 0: Rich Hill joined Cy Young and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers to strike out nine against the Yankees at age 41 or older, and Tampa Bay avoided getting swept in a three-game series in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Yandy Díaz hit a two-run single in the first inning off Jameson Taillon, Austin Meadows doubled the lead with a two-run homer in the fourth and Randy Arozarena added a three-run homer in the sixth for the first runs off Michael King this season.

 

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