Rafael Devers didn’t work out with his teammates at Fenway Park for the first week of summer camp because the Red Sox feared he had been exposed to COVID-19.
After three tests came up negative, however, Devers was cleared to return and joined his teammates at Fenway Park on Wednesday afternoon for live batting practice.
He had been working out at Boston College with other possible positive cases, manager Ron Roenicke said, out of an abundance of caution.
“We had some guys that were possibly exposed to somebody with coronavirus,” Roenicke said via Zoom on Wednesday.
“This group has tested negative three times. We will continue to test them, just because we’re being overly cautious. That’s kind of why we’ve separated some of the guys from the later workouts.”
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Devers hopes to bat in Thursday’s intrasquad scrimmage, Roenicke said, because he’s eager to lock in his timing at the plate versus big league pitching.
If all goes well, he’d likely play third base in Friday’s scrimmage.
“He’s concerned about seeing velocity,” Roenicke stated. “We were able to do that over there with him with the pitching machine in the cage. He’ll do that again and see live BP today, which is helpful, and then if he’s ready for a couple of at-bats, we’ll have him in the intrasquad tomorrow.”
Added Roenicke: “I know with him, he’s a little concerned, because he’s trying to catch up and make sure he’s getting all the work in that he needs.”
There’s no overstating Devers’ significance to the lineup after a breakout 2019 in which he hit .311 with 32 homers, 115 RBIs, and a league-leading 54 doubles and 359 total bases. With Mookie Betts in Los Angeles, Devers is expected to be one of the driving forces in the lineup, alongside Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez.
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