PITTSBURGH — The Tigers, the first team to reach MLB’s threshold to be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 back in April, have had their first situation since then. Reliever Joe Jiménez and bench coach George Lombard tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning, manager A.J. Hinch announced.
Both Jiménez and Lombard are fully vaccinated. Both reported symptoms to the Tigers’ medical staff and returned to the team hotel. They’ll be away from the team for at least 10 days.
Due to contact tracing, pitching coach Chris Fetter, quality control coach Josh Paul and bullpen catcher Jeremy Carroll will also be away from the team this week while in quarantine. No other players or staff were reporting symptoms, according to Hinch.
“Obviously, still a virus that we’re dealing with, as are other teams around the league,” Hinch said. “We’ve had 100 percent player participation in COVID vaccine, so we were really good about that. Our organization has been terrific about this, 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 that the testing has gone, 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. But right now, we are where we’re at.”
The result was a short-handed player and coaching roster for Monday afternoon’s series opener against the Pirates at PNC Park. Bullpen coach Juan Nieves moved into the dugout to fill in as pitching coach, a role he filled for a stretch in Spring Training after Fetter tested positive for COVID-19.
Jiménez will be placed on the injured list Tuesday, allowing the Tigers to bring in a replacement.