The New York Yankees appear to be hitting the 85% COVID-19 vaccination rate soon, manager Aaron Boone revealed this week. Reaching that benchmark would mean the Yankees would meet MLB requirements for relaxed COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

“I am very optimistic that we will get to this point very soon,” Boone said on Wednesday, by the New York Post. “It’s a question of when we had this opportunity, which I know is coming.”

Boone also said a handful of pitchers who weren’t supposed to play in Wednesday’s tilt with the Baltimore Orioles were vaccinated before the game. Other players, meanwhile, received their shots after the team’s 4-3 loss.

“It has been an exciting day in this regard,” Boone said of the vaccinations.

The Yankees have a scheduled day off Thursday, which would allow vaccinated players to determine if any short-term side effects occur after the shot.

Boone, who was also recently vaccinated, said the team had called in medics to educate players and staff about the wisdom, not to mention safety, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We’ve had our doctors and some of us who’ve had the vaccine… talking to the guys and I know that’s been one of the talking points at the club,” Boone said.

It is interesting to note that the Mets, rivals of Crosstown did a similar thing this week after team president Sandy Alderson admitted that “there has been some hesitation on the part of some players” on the team about whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Mets are expected to have medical staff on site Thursday at Citi Field to administer the vaccines to those who wish.

Major League Baseball, as is also the case with the NBA, urged to receive COVID-19 vaccines for teams. A joint MLB and MLBPA memo distributed to teams at the end of last month encouraged all players and staff to “receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines, if applicable.”

As noted, teams that achieve an 85% vaccination rate among their level 1 members (players and those in close contact with them such as coaches, managers and coaches) see a looseness health and safety protocol measures and restrictions.

Weakened protocols would include team members who would no longer have to wear masks in shelters and enclosures. Additionally, vaccinated players would not have to be involved in contact tracing measures if a club member tested positive for COVID-19.

Regarding vaccinations, the Yankees said in a statement that “the process has been transparent and efficient, and we are grateful that by receiving the vaccine we can help stop the spread of COVID-19.”