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Red Sox closer Matt Barnes tests positive for COVID-19

Boston will be without their presumed closer for the time being. Adam Ottavino is his likely replacement.

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The Boston Red Sox are dealing with COVID-19 issues less than a week before Opening Day. Presumed opening day closer Matt Barnes has tested positive for the virus, according to manager Alex Cora. Starter Matt Andriese was scratched for his Saturday spring training start due to possible exposure.

Barnes was expected to be the team’s closer, but he will be sidelined for likely at least another week. Cora said Barnes is asymptomatic, so if he remains in that condition, he would be back in fairly short order. However, he seems unlikely to be available for Opening Day, which means Adam Ottavino will likely move into the closer role for the time being. Ottavino has been a setup man most of his career, with a career high seven saves in 2016.

Contact tracing has begun for the rest of the roster, so it will take some time to sort out how many players are impacted by this.