NEW YORK (AP) – The nearest Yankees Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for coronavirus and has mild symptoms.
New York manager Aaron Boone said on Saturday that Chapman “on the whole is doing well” but “will not be there for the foreseeable future”.
The AL East champions are set to start the virus-delayed season on July 23 in Washington.
Hours after Chapman’s diagnosis, Yankee striker Aaron Judge was struck out from a simulated game with a stiff neck. The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year was scheduled to play second and play on the right field at Yankee Stadium, but was removed from the lineup shortly before the first pitch.
The judge said he was “ready for the game” earlier this week after being diagnosed with a rib fracture in March. The 6 foot 7 inch hitter used the coronavirus shutdown to get healthy and had been swinging at full power for at least a few weeks before showing up at preseason camp last week.
Boone said the judge’s neck was “locked,” but he doesn’t expect it to be a long-term problem.
“I hope he can be there tomorrow,” he said.
Chapman started an enclosure session on Tuesday and Boone did not want to say if the left-hander had been at Yankee Stadium since. Boone said the team had done the contact tracing and that no other player or staff would be forced to isolate themselves due to Chapman’s positive test.
“We follow all of the protocols,” said Boone. “We have had no other positive tests. We adhere to all things of contact tracing. We think we have managed it and we are doing it. “
“Again, you know, this is something that is going ahead even, a positive test will probably happen. It’s about doing all the things that we hope will keep us safe and healthy, ”he said.
In the first week of surveillance testing at the 30 major league camps, 17 of 7,401 samples tested positive, 0.2% much lower than the national average of about 9%. Atlanta star Freddie Freeman, Kansas City wide receiver Salvador Perez, Colorado outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Texas hitter Joey Gallo are among the players running out of time due to COVID-19.
The list now includes Chapman, 32, a six-time All-Star with 273 career stops, including 37 last season when he had a BPM of 2.21.
New York is also deprived of inside field player DJ LeMahieu and right-hander Luis Cessa, who both tested positive before the start of pre-season camp last week and are still isolated at home.
“This is obviously just another reminder,” said Boone, “that we need to be vigilant when it comes to wearing our masks when possible, the distance, the decisions we make far from the field, at best we can stay away from danger. ”
The Yankees will open their regular season against the world championship national championships. If Chapman is not back by that time, Boone has said left-handed Zack Britton would be a “natural guy” to replace him, but no official decision has been made. Britton, 32, recorded 145 career stoppages, most of them with Baltimore from 2014 to 2017.
“Britton has been an elite closer to this game for a long time,” said Boone.
Right-handed starter Masahiro Tanaka played the ball on the field Saturday, a week after being hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton’s 112 mph line drive. Tanaka is still on concussion protocol and the club has yet to schedule a return to the mound. Boone said Tanaka responds well to treatment and testing.
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