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Yankees Place Jonathan Loaisiga on COVID-19 Injured List

Jonathan Loaisiga has been instrumental in the success of the Yankees' bullpen this season, earning more opportunities in high-leverage spots than ever before. 

On Saturday, however, his season hit a bit of a speed bump.

Loaisiga was placed on the COVID-19 injured list, the team announced Saturday afternoon before the second game of New York's series in Houston.

While manager Aaron Boone assured that Loaisiga "feels good," he didn't share any additional details about the right-hander's status and whether or not Loaisiga had tested positive for the virus. Boone said the team learned that Loaisiga needed to go on the COVID IL earlier Saturday morning. 

New York went through a similar situation back in May when an outbreak of breakthrough cases included shortstop Gleyber Torres. Shortly after Torres was placed on the COVID IL, he was able to rejoin the team, missing only seven games. 

Each situation is different, though. Only time will tell how long Loaisiga is kept away from the team due to health and safety protocols, as Boone reiterated on Saturday. 

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In Loaisiga's place, along with Miguel Andújar—who landed on the 10-day injured list with a left wrist strain—New York recalled right-handers Albert Abreu and Brooks Kriske from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Losing Loaisiga is going to be a blow for this bullpen, no matter how many games he's out. The right-hander has been an All-Star caliber reliever this season, posting a spectacular 2.11 ERA over 36 games and 47 innings pitched with 46 strikeouts. Take away two clunkers with four earned runs each and Loaisiga has only given up three in his remaining 34 outings. 

After pitching the ninth inning on Friday night, closing out a 4-0 series-opening victory over the Astros, Loaisiga is tied with fellow lights-out reliever Chad Green for the most appearances on New York's pitching staff this season. 

With Aroldis Chapman still working through his recent struggles, and Green managing his traditional heavy workload, Boone may need to get creative when it comes to delegating who he turns to in the later innings out of the 'pen.

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