Yankees castoff Adam Ottavino is likely to open the season as the new closer of the Red Sox due to the team’s COVID-19 situation.
Projected closer Matt Barnes tested positive for the coronavirus late last week and will need to be isolated from the team for a minimum of 10 days through at least April 5.
Ottavino, who was dealt to Boston in January in a salary-shedding move by the Yankees, hasn’t allowed an earned run in 6 1/3 innings over six spring-training appearances. He is entering the final year of the three-year, $27 million deal he signed with the Yankees in 2019.
The 35-year-old Brooklyn product fell out of favor in Aaron Boone’s bullpen last season with a 5.89 ERA and a 1.582 WHIP over 24 relief appearances. Ottavino, who has registered 19 career saves, also pitched just 2/3 of an inning during the playoffs against Cleveland and Tampa Bay last season.
Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, a 19-game winner in 2019, missed the entire COVID-shortened season last year because of a heart condition after testing positive for the virus.