NEW YORK — The Yankees have their third COVID-19 outbreak of the season.
Jordan Montgomery joins Gerrit Cole as the second Yankees player to test positive for COVID-19 this week, manager Aaron Boone revealed on Tuesday afternoon.
Cole was scheduled to start on Tuesday night. After the ace was scratched, prospect Luis Gil was called up to take the ball instead. Boone revealed that lefty Nestor Cortes will start for New York on Thursday. Then, Friday could be a bullpen day, filling in for Montgomery's scheduled spot in the rotation.
Losing your ace to the COVID-19 injured list is tough on its own, but needing to fill in for Montgomery as well makes this even more of a blow. Montgomery has been a key contributor in New York's rotation this season, hitting his stride over the last several weeks.
The left-hander has a 3.69 ERA over 114.2 innings this season, his highest workload since his rookie year back in 2017 (prior to Tommy John surgery). Over his last eight starts, Montgomery has pitched to a 2.86 ERA, allowing just 14 earned runs to score in 44 innings pitched.
Boone added that Cole showed cold symptoms prior to his confirmed diagnosis on Monday. That was why Cole was administered a test, leading to contact tracing across those within the organization.
With Domingo Germán on the injured list, alongside other starters like Corey Kluber, Luis Severino and Michael King, it's all hands on deck for New York to eat up innings during this tough stretch. Pitchers Stephen Ridings and Brody Koerner were both called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to provide some immediate depth in the bullpen, per Boone.
As of Tuesday afternoon, no other players have tested positive for the virus. Boone said he's hopeful that this outbreak can be limited to just the two starting pitchers.
Earlier in the season, the Yankees had two different outbreaks, both blossoming to six--plus cases each time. The first was back in May when a total of nine individuals—including pitching coach Matt Blake and third base coach Phil Nevin—tested positive for the virus. It was later revealed that that number should have been eight as shortstop Gleyber Torres had a false positive.
Then, last month, six players landed on the COVID IL, a group that included Aaron Judge, Jonathan Loaisiga, Gio Urshela and Kyle Higashioka.
Asked about the challenges of navigating yet another outbreak—one that has a direct effect on the top of New York's starting rotation—Boone acknowledged that this is something bigger than baseball that many people around the world are coping with during this global pandemic.
"I think everyone can understand that's certainly a challenge and difficult and certainly feel for Gerrit and Monty in this situation. Guys that are obviously in the midst of great seasons for us and integral parts of this team," he said. "You just handle it and deal with it the best you can and try and get through it. We've been through some of these kinds of challenges even recently and have gotten through them. That's what we'll expect to do again."
- Yankees Promote Pitching Prospect Luis Gil to Start Against Orioles, Make MLB Debut
- Questions About Andrew Heaney’s Fit Linger After Disastrous Yankees Debut
- When Gio Urshela Is Expected Back From His Hamstring Injury