Yankees waiting for clarity on NYC’s COVID vaccine mandate

DUNEDIN, Fla. — With just over two weeks until the Yankees are scheduled to play their season opener against the Red Sox in The Bronx, there’s still no clarity about whether their unvaccinated players will be able to play due to New York City COVID mandates.

And therefore, it’s still on the radar of manager Aaron Boone.

“A little bit now, but we’ll handle that behind the scenes and it’ll be what it is,’’ Boone said on Tuesday after the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays, 9-2, at TD Ballpark.

Asked if he could imagine being without a key player or key players for half the season — or more, depending on Canada’s protocols, Boone said, “I hope not. I hope not.”

Earlier in the day, Mayor Eric Adams said he wasn’t ready to get rid of the city’s private-sector worker vaccine mandate — which is what is stopping New York City-based athletes from playing in the five boroughs.

“They have to wait to find out what we’re going to do,” Adams said of unvaccinated pro athletes.

Aaron Boone and the Yankees staff still awaiting clarity on NYC’s COVID vaccine mandate
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Pos

“We’re going to do it in layers,” Adams said of getting rid of the mandate. “And when we feel that it’s the right time to look at that — if we do so at all — because the work environment is an important environment, we’re going to make that determination. We’re not there yet.”

Adams said last week he’d work with MLB on a “solution” to the issue. The clock is still ticking.

Marwin Gonzalez said he’s not worried about his past with the 2017 World Series-champion Astros, who were found to have engaged in sign-stealing, having an impact on his place with the Yankees after signing a minor league deal.

“That’s in the past,’’ Gonzalez said of the ’17 Houston team, which beat the Yankees in the ALCS in seven games to advance to the World Series.

Asked if he felt the need to talk to players from that Yankees team about the situation, Gonzalez said, “I have talked to a lot of guys during games and we talk about baseball, not about that.”

Aaron Judge, a vocal critic of the 2017 Astros when the scandal became public in 2019, said he had “no issues” with the Yankees signing Gonzalez.

The 33-year-old Gonzalez, who split last season between Houston and Boston and who has struggled badly at the plate the last two years, expects to get into his first Grapefruit League game on Thursday as he competes for a utility spot.

The Yankees settled on new contracts for Gleyber Torres ($6.25 million) and Kyle Higashioka ($935,000).

The Yankees optioned right-hander Luis Medina to Double-A Somerset, OF Everson Pereira to High-A Hudson Valley and right-hander Yoendrys Gomez to Low-A Tampa.


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