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MLB disputes Hunter Renfroe claim that it told Red Sox to stop COVID-19 testing

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 9/9/2021 Katie McInerney
a man standing in front of a crowd of people watching a baseball game: Hunter Renfroe said MLB told the Red Sox to stop testing for COVID. © Winslow Townson Hunter Renfroe said MLB told the Red Sox to stop testing for COVID.

Red Sox outfielder Hunter Renfroe claims Major League Baseball told the team to stop following COVID-19 protocols amid the outbreak engulfing the clubhouse.

“MLB basically told us to stop the testing and just treat the symptoms,” Renfroe told WEEI’s “Merloni and Fauria” show on Thursday, “and we were like ‘No, we’re going to figure out what’s going on, and keep trying to keep this thing under control.’ ”

After Renfroe finished his sentence, Lou Merloni sought to clarify, asking, “MLB asked you to stop testing?”

“Yes,” Renfroe replied.

A league source told the Globe Renfroe’s comments were not true.

Speier: What are the Red Sox’ chances? Here’s how things size up in the wild-card race

The Red Sox released a statement following Renfroe’s comments, saying the team has “been following MLB’s COVID-19 protocols all season long. We have consulted closely with them on everything we’ve done and continue to test, and their medical staff has been very supportive.”

A league official added that MLB has conducted 1,884 tests on behalf of Red Sox personnel since Aug. 26. Kiké Hernández tested positive the following day, the first of nine players to test positive during the outbreak. (Two more have been sidelined because they were a close contact or exhibited symptoms.)

Hernández returned to the field on Tuesday, and the Red Sox should be getting some additional players back soon. Those who went to the COVID-related injured list last week during the Rays series — Martín Pérez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Xander Bogaerts, and Yairo Muñoz — were forced to quarantine in Florida. But according to manager Alex Cora, those players were set to join the team in Chicago.

The Red Sox lead over the Yankees for the top wild-card spot grew to a full game when Toronto beat New York, 6-4, to finish a four-game sweep at Yankee Stadium. The Jays, winners of eight straight, are just a half-game back of New York for the second wild-card.

Taxi squad supplemented

Depth still is an issue. As a result, four players were added to the taxi squad from Triple A Worcester: pitchers Connor Seabold and Kaleb Ort, catcher Chris Hermann, and infielder Jack Lopez. Seabold is a key part of the Sox’ future and came up as a potential option during the early days of the outbreak. In eight starts (41⅔ innings) at Worcester, the 25-year-old Seabold has a 3.61 ERA, striking out 44 batters . . . Tanner Houck is scheduled to be on the mound Friday to begin the three-game series against the White Sox. Saturday is still to be determined; it’s Nick Pivetta‘s spot, but he is on the COVID-IL after a breakthrough case. Chris Sale takes the hill Sunday. On the other side, manager Tony La Russa told reporters in Oakland the hope is that Carlos Rodón will start Friday and Lance Lynn, on the injured list since Aug. 31 with right knee inflammation, will go Sunday. (Dylan Cease will start for the White Sox on Saturday.) Tim Anderson is still on the injured list as he continues to nurse a hamstring issue, but took ground balls before Thursday’s loss to the A’s.

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