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Boston Red Sox star Xander Bogaerts leaves game after positive COVID-19 test

Things are not going too swimmingly for Xander Bogaerts and the Boston Red Sox as they vie for a playoff spot in the American League heading down the stretch.

Bogaerts was removed from the Red Sox’ game Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., after testing positive for COVID-19.

The club announced in the third inning that the 28-year-old Bogaerts tested positive for the virus.

That increases the team’s outbreak to seven players who either tested positive or were placed in quarantine due to being a close contact.

After giving Boston a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first, Bogaerts went to his position at shortstop in the middle of the second to warm up.

However, he was motioned off the field by manager Alex Cora and replaced in the lineup by Yairo Munoz, who played second base. Jonathan Arauz shifted from second to shortstop.

Earlier Tuesday, the Red Sox right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura on the COVID-19 list due to a positive test. Left-hander Josh Taylor was also placed on the list as a close contact.

The trio joined All-Star closer Matt Barnes, left-hander Martin Perez, infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez and infielder Christian Arroyo on the list. Those four all tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports.

This is the third time Barnes has tested positive — he also did so in March and July and was cleared to return to the team in 48 hours on both occasions.

Barnes, who is vaccinated, also was sent back to the team hotel in Detroit on Aug. 3 and placed on the COVID-19 list, but he tested negative on that occasion.

Impact of Xander Bogaerts’ positive COVID-19 test

boston red sox xander bogaerts
Aug 28, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) hits an RBI double during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

As noted above, seven Red Sox players have either tested positive for COVID-19 or find themselves in quarantine after coming into close contact with a confirmed positive.

He joins fellow All-Star Matt Barnes in being sidelined for a Boston team that entered Tuesday’s action two games behind the New York Yankees for the top wild card spot in the American League. Boston is also a mere two games ahead the final playoff spot with 28 games to go following Tuesday’s action.

As for the game, Boston ended up yielding six runs in the bottom of the third and ultimately fell to the first-place Rays in an important American League East matchup.

Xander Bogaerts, a three-time All-Star, is batting .298 with 20 homers and 70 RBIs in 124 games this season. He’s among the most-important players on Boston’s roster, and will now miss extensive time after testing positive for COVID-19.

(Field Level Media contributed to this report)