Red Sox

Red Sox lose Hanigan to injury, will call up Swihart

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Red Sox lose Hanigan to injury, will call up Swihart

BOSTON - This was adding injury to insult.

On the same night in which they lost to the New York Yankees 3-2 -- and allowed Alex Rodriguez's 660th career homer, tying him for fourth-place on the all-time list -- the Red Sox lost much more than a game.

Catcher Ryan Hanigan was diagnosed with a broken knuckle on his right pinkie finger and will be lost to the team for a "lengthy'' period of time.

To take Hanigan's place, the Red Sox intend to promote Blake Swihart from Pawtucket, according to an injury source. The Red Sox will continue to search for other external options behind the plate, but former Red Sox
catcher Jarrod Saltalmacchia, designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins, is not considered an option by the club.

Hanigan's injury came on a freak play in the seventh inning. Tommy Layne made a pitch inside that struck Mark Teixeira on the wrist, then clipped Hanigan's finger.

He was removed from the game and replaced by Sandy Leon.

Hanigan's injury is the second major one to a Red Sox starting catcher in the last five weeks. The team lost No. 1 catcher Christian Vazquez in spring training with an elbow ligament tear that required Tommy John surgery.

Hanigan will miss "a substantial amount of time,'' according to Farrell. "I don't know the exact [amount] of time, but it's going to be lengthy. Ryan and the pitching staff were starting to gain some traction. He's put up a lot of competitive at-bats, including a couple more tonight. We'll miss his presence behind the plate, but we as a group have to be resillient in times like this and look to fortify the position.''

Farrell said the team's projection would be for Hanigan to return to action "before the end of the season,'' but until the surgery is performed, a recovery timetable is uncertain at best.''

"It's a big loss,'' said Justin Masterson, who allowed two runs in six-plus innings and earned a no-decision. "He's a big part of helping everything come together. He's really smart, works hard and he's been having some really good at-bats, too. He's been doing a lot of things well, so it's a tough loss. There are going to be some people who need to step up to make up for when he's going to be gone.''

Said Clay Buchholz: "He worked really hard to get to the point where he was at with the staff, knowing everybody. He obviously brings a lot of energy to the team, from first pitch. It's unfortunate for him and for us. It's one of those things that the game brings you and you have to work around it.

"We'll get through it and he'll be back. But for the time being, yeah, we're going to have to step up.''

Swihart was hitting .338 at Pawtucket. It's unclear how much the Red Sox will use him at the big league level. Leon has more experience at this level and is rated as a sound defensive catcher, though not nearly the
offensive weapon that Swihart is.

Saltalamacchia's availability doesn't tempt the Sox, however. They seemed to lose faith in his defensive abililities in 2013 and made a modest two-year, incentive-laden offer to retain him before he took Miami's offer.

The Marlins, too, soured on him and have been actively trying to trade him this week. He has about $13 million remaining on the multi-year deal he signed with the Marlins.

Yankees star closer Aroldis Chapman tests positive for COVID-19

Yankees star closer Aroldis Chapman tests positive for COVID-19

The New York Yankees will be without their star closer for the foreseeable future.

Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing "mild" symptoms, Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters Saturday, via the Associated Press.

The 32-year-old closer threw a bullpen session at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, but Boone said no other Yankees players or personnel will be forced to isolate due to Chapman's positive test.

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Chapman's "right-hand man" and trainer tested negative for COVID-19, according to ESPN's Marly Rivera.

Chapman, who is the first New York player known to test positive for COVID-19, has no timetable for a return. Under Major League Baseball's guidelines, a player who tested positive must test negative twice within a 24-hour period and not exhibit any symptoms for a 72-hour period.

The Yankees begin their 2020 campaign in less than two weeks against the Washington Nationals on July 23. They're expected to be serious World Series contenders, and Chapman -- a six-time All-Star who was named the 2019 American League Reliever of the Year -- is a big reason why.

The Boston Red Sox' first series against their AL East rival begins July 31, and it's much too early to tell if Chapman will be back with the Yankees before then. But it's clear that the coronavirus pandemic will continue to affect teams as they gear up for the 2020 season.

Why Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke 'really liked' fake crowd noise at Fenway Park

Why Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke 'really liked' fake crowd noise at Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox experimented with fake crowd noise during Friday's intersquad scrimmage at Fenway Park, offering a preview of what the gameday experience might sound and look like once the 2020 MLB season gets underway.

The system is far from perfect and will continue to be tweaked, but so far, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke is a huge fan.

"I liked it a lot," Roenicke told reporters Friday. "Some real noise that will get better with the timing of it. But I think even the noise with nothing going on is really good. So they're experimenting with the loudness of it, what the natural crowd would sound like early in the game and what it would be when things are tied and there's excitement in it.

"I thought it was great. I think the players all liked it. At times it was a little loud, and they were experimenting with that. The players said it was a little harder to talk to each other on the field. But as soon as they dropped it back down, it was in a place that was good. I think it's going to create a lot of energy, so I really liked it."

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A totally silent stadium atmosphere would allow teams to hear what the opponents were saying and make strategy tougher, so Roenicke likes that his players and staff can communicate without the entire conversation being heard by everyone in the area.

"It's nice on our part to be able to have conversations and not have the other side hear it," Roenicke said. "And at times it's nice for us to make comments and not have the players hear what you're saying. If we're discussing, maybe, taking a starting pitcher out of a game. There's sometimes comments you make that you'd rather the players not hear that, so it's a benefit to have that noise there. And I've also noticed with these masks on, I don't have to cover my mouth when I'm talking at times, worried about the camera being on me, so that's a real good thing."

One thing the league will try to accomplish is making the crowd noise work for both teams. A scenario where only the home team benefits isn't going to work.

"It will vary from ballpark to ballpark," Roenicke explained. "I'm sure (the league) will have somebody here -- I guess I could say policing it -- making sure, for one, that it's fair for both sides. I'm sure we won't try to get carried away with the things we do. We were discussing it today, Tom Werner was out here, and we were making sure -- it can't all be just positive noise just for the home team. There has to be some kind of noise for the visiting side or when things go bad on our side, because really what happens is the crowd doesn't make a noise whether it's good or bad.

"So trying to make sure we don't do anything that's so one-sided that it's ridiculous, and no one wants it that way. I think that's got to be policed around the league. But everybody's got the opportunity to change those noises and get it to a place where they think it's going to help their team."

The fake crowd noise might be needed for the entire season. Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker recently announced that the state's pro sports team can begin hosting games but without fans. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said late last month that he's "hopeful" fans will be able to attend games at Fenway Park this season, but he's not sure if it will happen at all.