Detroit Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez, bench coach George Lombard test positive for COVID-19

Detroit Free Press

PITTSBURGH — Detroit Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez and bench coach George Lombard tested positive for COVID-19.

Both are vaccinated and experienced symptoms.

The Tigers will also be without pitching coach Chris Fetter, quality control coach Josh Paul and bullpen catcher Jeremy Carroll because of contact-tracing. The organization received the results of its latest batch of COVID-19 tests around 11:30 a.m. Monday, ahead of a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

“There are no more symptoms floating around,” Hinch said Monday. “Our players have been incredible. We have 100% player participation in the COVID vaccine, so we are really good about that. We were the first team to go unmasked back in April.

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“But we see that it’s not perfect. There’s still some breakthrough positives that can happen. The way we’ve handled it. The way the testing has gone, for as much power as we have, we feel good about it. Are more tests going to be done? Yes. Are we going to pay close attention to any sort of symptoms? Of course.”

Jimenez and Lombard will be out for at least 10 days. On Tuesday, the Tigers will make a roster move to replace Jimenez.

“We’ll be in the works to do that for tomorrow,” Hinch said. “We’ll absorb some of the coaching duties. We’re going to skeleton-crew it today with the coaching staff. It doesn’t change what our day-to-day plan is. We’re going to try to beat the Pirates today. … (Assistant pitching coach) Juan Nieves will be in the dugout, not in the bullpen. Obviously, there will be no shot of George in the dugout.”

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The Tigers don’t expect Fetter, Paul and Carroll to return until at least Sept. 14, when the team opens a two-game slate with the Milwaukee Brewers at Comerica Park. This means they will miss the current road series against the Pirates (Monday-Wednesday) and three-game series at home against the Tampa Bay Rays (Friday-Sunday).

“When we got to the ballpark, Joe went to the trainers and told us about some symptoms he was having,” Hinch said. “He didn’t sleep well last night. That immediately started the process of getting him tested and those that were around him tested. The same thing happened with George.

“We went into our further testing around the players and coaches in the room. It sets off a process that MLB put in place and that we adhere to. And here we are.”

Following Opening Day in April, a “majority” of the team’s players, coaches and trainers accepted the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine through corporate sponsors McLaren Health Care. As of now, every player on the roster is vaccinated.

The coaching staff, though, is not 100% vaccinated.

“Obviously still a virus that we are dealing with,” Hinch said, “as are other teams around the league.”

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

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