In the latest coronavirus-related setback for the Yankees, Gerrit Cole, the team’s top starting pitcher, has tested positive for the virus and will miss his next start, which had been scheduled for Tuesday.
Manager Aaron Boone announced Cole’s positive test in a postgame news conference following the team’s 7-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday at Yankee Stadium. Boone was asked how Cole would bounce back from a tough loss last week against the Tampa Bay Rays and he responded with the news of the diagnosis.
“Gerrit will not be pitching tomorrow,” Boone said. “He’s actually tested positive for Covid.”
“As of now, he’s the only one,” Boone said.
Boone did not say whether Cole is vaccinated or not. The majority of positives among Yankees players and staff this season have been so-called breakthrough cases, where a person tests positive despite being fully vaccinated.
“Definitely, it’s tough. It’s been a tough year,” catcher Gary Sanchez told reporters through an interpreter. “We got this news with Cole and definitely a low blow there.”
The setback comes in an odd season for Cole in which he inadvertently became the face of a ball-doctoring epidemic after he talked around a direct question of whether he had used Spider Tack to improve his grip on baseballs. Cole, 30, has still put together fairly solid numbers, with a 10-6 record, a 3.11 E.R.A. and a major league-leading 176 strikeouts in 130 and a third innings. But since the question about Spider Tack, he has a 4.28 E.R.A. in nine starts.
While Boone did not state definitively who would start in Cole’s place against Baltimore on Tuesday, he said it would most likely be Nestor Cortes Jr.