NEW YORK – For the third time in the past four days, the Yankees lost a key member of their club to COVID-19 when catcher Gary Sánchez tested positive on Thursday, manager Aaron Boone revealed via Zoom.
After starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery missed their scheduled starts this week, the Yankees backstop was not in the line-up for Thursday’s series opener against the Mariners. Boone said Sánchez was unwell on Wednesday night when he left Yankee Stadium, and when his condition did not improve the next morning, he took a rapid antigen test that indicated he was infected with the virus . He ran a molecular PCR test later Thursday to confirm the results and was put on the COVID-19 injured list.
No other Yankees players were kept out of the Seattle game for contract pursuit reasons and catcher Rob Brantly was added to the list as a substitute.
“I guess I’m a little worried about everything,” Boone said. “We continue to be hit by some things; We just have to deal with it as best we can and try to get the best care for our boys. … [We’re] just try to be responsible, sure. You know, I think we all, the country, everyone is learning as this thing goes on. “
The Yankees had resumed left aide Wandy Peralta from the COVID-19 casualty list just before Thursday’s game when news broke about Sánchez. This season, the Americans have faced this type of recurring challenge many times, who seem to have been disproportionately affected by outbreaks among major league baseball clubs.
Just three weeks ago, six Yankees players – Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Kyle Higashioka, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Peralta – tested positive for COVID-19, which should force their home game against the Red Sox to be postponed to the second half the MLB season open. Peralta was the last of this group to return for the Americans.
“Yes, that’s what it looks like. It definitely seems like we’ve been hit a little harder, ”said Boone. “When we actually started the camp last year, we made it through the whole year without anything. [But] obviously we’ve been hit pretty hard, and lately too [this year].
“It is of course a different kind of adversity that we will face in 2020, 2021, but it is something that we still have to deal with. The boys did an excellent job [when] it has created opportunities for other people to step in and step up. And that will continue to be the expectation. “
One of those players who made great strides was outfielder Greg Allen, whose contract was selected on July 16 by Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre and who along with some of his RailRiders teammates became the Yankees’ active squad to New Help York poke the holes that come out of the All-Star Breakpoint.
Allen was re-elected to the Triple A squad after Wednesday’s 10-3 win over the Orioles after hitting 0.270 in 15 games with a 0.849 OPS, a stretch the Yankees went 11-4. Boone admitted Thursday that the decision to bring Allen down was a “very difficult” decision, but ultimately it was down to the Yankees’ ability to add depth to the season’s stretch run in outfielder Jonathan Davis who was rejected by the Blue Jays on Tuesday and was added to the active list on Wednesday.
With Allen called up as a substitute during that July outbreak, the Yankees didn’t have to put him under waivers if they sent him back. Boone described the move as a move “we don’t lose Greg Allen”.
“First of all, what a good professional he was in the room. But he also played and helped us win games, ”said Boone. “This is an opportunity situation to get a guy like Jonathan Davis. … The opportunity to create depth at any time of the year, but especially with what we’re going through in 2021 – you probably can’t have enough depth for the future. “
That’s a lesson the Yankees have learned hard to learn this season. With Sánchez Cole and Montgomery joining in on the COVID-19 IL, it won’t get any easier anytime soon. But these Yanks have proven themselves battle-hardened, and Boone is confident that this will be just another dent in their pinstripe armor.
“Everyone got better there. Less shock every time, even though we had really great people on our team, it happened to them, ”said Boone. “I think the more it happens, the more you won’t be completely surprised or stunned by the news. You just check people in and see how they’re doing and make sure they’re fine.
“But from there it becomes, ‘All right, what do we have to do in baseball to go ahead and go out there and try to catch a W?'”