NEW YORK — Jonathan Loaisiga has rejoined the Yankees after his case of COVID-19, but he's not quite ready to return to the bullpen.
Loaisiga worked out with his teammates at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday ahead of a series-opening contest between the Yankees and Phillies, his first day back with the team after testing positive for COVID earlier in the month.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed that Loaisiga threw on flat ground on Tuesday, going through some long toss as well.
"I think the plan is for him to throw a bullpen tomorrow," Boone said. "And then possibly do another bullpen or a live and hopefully be in play for us maybe at some point over the weekend."
Loaisiga was the first of six Yankees to land on the COVID-19 injured list amid an outbreak within the organization. The right-hander was the first to test positive, needing to stick around in Houston due to quarantine protocols after the club finished their series against the Astros prior to the All-Star break.
Asked if he has an update regarding the other five players still on the COVID IL—a group that includes All-Star right fielder Aaron Judge—Boone said left-hander Nestor Cortes could be back with the team during New York's series in Boston later this week.
If all goes well with his journey back to the active roster, Cortes would likely factor into the starting rotation over the rest of the Yankees' road trip as well. New York travels from Boston to Tampa Bay before finishing the trip with a three-game set in Miami against the Marlins.
Getting Loaisiga back from his case of COVID-19 will inject the bullpen with a huge boost during an important stretch. With Aroldis Chapman still working through a rough patch, Zack Britton finding his rhythm since returning from the injured list and Darren O'Day out for the year with a hamstring injury, New York could certainly use some reinforcements in the later innings.
Loaisiga is also having a career year out of the 'pen. The right-hander has posted a 2.11 ERA over 36 games (47 innings) while striking out 46 batters. Take away two clunkers—four earned runs in two outings—and Loaisiga has only permitted three earned runs to score across 46 frames.
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