Boston’s Kiké Hernandez said he was quite sick for about a day and a half before his COVID symptoms subsided during his 10-day quarantine in Cleveland. Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Kiké Hernandez was back in his regular space on Tuesday night, occupying center field at Fenway Park and batting leadoff for the Red Sox. It’s safe to say he’ll never take that for granted again.

Hernandez returned on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 27, sparking an outbreak on the team. The center fielder recounted his experience before the game against the Rays, and while it was certainly not ideal to be isolated in a Cleveland hotel room for 10 days, he knew it could have been far worse.

“It was long,” Hernandez said. “It felt a lot longer than 10 days. The first day and a half was pretty miserable, and then after that the symptoms kind of drifted away. I guess I’m glad that I was vaccinated because this thing got me pretty good for a day and a half. I’ve heard from some other people, not just in baseball but throughout this whole thing, that have felt symptoms for way more than a day and a half. I guess I got lucky on that side.”

Hernandez said that he first started to experience body aches during the Aug. 26 game against the Twins, the night before the Red Sox departed for Cleveland, but didn’t think much of it. But when he woke up the next day in Cleveland, the body aches got worse and he started to feel congested. He asked for a COVID test and it immediately turned up positive.

The rest of that day was a bit anxious as he spent a lot of time on the phone trying to determine close contacts before going to bed sick. Fortunately, his symptoms only hit him hard for a few days, but he had obvious concern for his teammates and felt some guilt for starting an outbreak that has now put more than a dozen players and coaches on the COVID injured list.

“I guess you can call me patient zero on the team,” Hernandez said. “I just felt (expletive), whether I was the first one or not, I was the first one that actually tested positive and after that, we lost, like, 40% of our team. Really proud of what they did while we were out. We still have a lot of guys out, but the fact that they went out there, won the series in Cleveland, split in Tampa, and won against the Indians here, they showed a lot of grit, a lot of battle. It says a lot about those guys. …

“I’m glad I’m back, I’m glad the rest of the guys – I’ve been keeping in touch with them – they’re doing well. They’re doing the same thing I was doing, just eager to come back.”

There obviously wasn’t much for Hernandez to do in isolation. He outlined his days roughly like this: Wake up, brush his teeth, order breakfast and coffee, take a long shower, sometimes a bath, watch a Netflix show or two, then take another shower or bath and play some games on his phone before getting ready to watch the Red Sox game.

In typical Hernandez fashion, he’d try to keep things light. He had a clubhouse attendant send him his gear in case he had to stay longer and work out on his own. But he wound up putting on his uniform during games as if he was playing and FaceTiming his other teammates who were also in isolation.

“It was cool to see how engaged everybody was watching the games,” Hernandez said. “They weren’t just shutting it down and doing their own thing. Everybody was engaged. As not cool as it was, it was kind of cool.”

Through it all, Hernandez said he gained some valuable perspective from the experience.

“The game got taken away from me for 10 days,” Hernandez said. “It sucks. It makes the 10 days last a lot longer. It puts things into perspective. This career is very short. Pardon my French, but (expletive) happens.

It was 10 days, but it just puts you in a different perspective about, like, every day that you’re in the big leagues, you need to enjoy this thing, because this career just goes by so quickly,” Hernandez said. “I always talk about how much I embrace being in the big leagues, and trying to have as much fun as I can on a daily basis. But those are the days, those are the times, that it really brings it back to you where you need to enjoy this on a daily basis.”

XANDER BOGAERTS could return to the Red Sox on Friday from his stint on the COVID injured list.

“He feels great,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said. “You never want these guys to miss time because of this, but it’s where he’s at. Maybe it will benefit him in a sense where he’ll be fresh, quote-unquote. And let’s see how he finishes the season and helps us to make it to the playoffs.”

NOTES: Cora said Nick Pivetta (COVID) might be available to start this weekend. His scheduled rotation turn is Saturday in Chicago vs. the White Sox. Kutter Crawford and Connor Seabold both are options to start in Pivetta’s spot if the righty is unavailable. “We’ll make adjustments depending on where we’re at. Both guys (Crawford and Seabold) are options if he cannot start whenever he’s supposed to start,” Cora said. “Obviously we think highly of both of them. Like I said before, at one point they’re going to have to contribute.” … Darwinzon Hernandez made a rehab appearance for Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday. The lefty has been on the IL because of a right oblique strain since July 31. He pitched one scoreless and hitless inning, allowing one walk and striking out one.

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