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Sale tests positive for COVID-19 as Red Sox outbreak worsens

Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not start Sunday against the Chicago White Sox, a team source told The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham.

Sale is the 10th Red Sox player to test positive since Aug. 27 as the club’s outbreak continues to spread. Enrique Hernandez and Danny Santana were removed from the COVID-19 injured list earlier this week. However, eight players still remain out, including Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes, Nick Pivetta, Jarren Duran, Christian Arroyo, Hirokazu Sawamura, Martin Perez and Yairo Munoz. 

Abraham notes Pivetta could come off the COVID-19 IL to replace Sale.

Sale had just returned to the mound Aug. 14 after he underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2020. The 32-year-old is 3-0 in five starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.400 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 25 innings. 

Sale’s positive test comes after Red Sox outfielder Hunter Renfroe claimed Major League Baseball told the team to stop COVID-19 testing amid its outbreak.

“MLB basically told us to stop the testing and just treat the symptoms,” Renfroe said Thursday. The league responded to his allegations, calling them “completely wrong and inaccurate.”

The Red Sox also refuted Renfroe’s comments, saying, “We have been following MLB’s COVID-19 protocols all season long.”

Boston’s outbreak comes at an unfortunate time, with the postseason just right around the corner. The Red Sox hold a slim one-game lead over the New York Yankees for the American League’s top wild-card spot. If key players continue testing positive for COVID-19, that lead could evaporate.

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