While the Yankees and MLB search for “contacts” with hopes of limiting the team’s COVID outbreak, we now know that there may be a connection.
Update 2:10 PM ET 7/16/2021
The Yankees and Red Sox are expected to play tonight as scheduled. The Yankees will, of course, play shorthanded with Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Kyle Higashioka, Wandy Peralta, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Jonathan Loasiaga all sidelined due to COVID protocol.
The Yankees have replaced Domingo German with Jordan Montgomery while the Red Sox are staying with Eduardo Rodriguez.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole came back from an illness for which he was so sick for a couple of days that he was getting fluids from an IV to toss a 129 pitch complete-game win last Saturday over the Houston Astros.
Cole described the illness as “You don’t want to know what I was going through,” Cole said. “It was gross.”
Yankees: Holding Things Close To Their Vest
Typical of the Yankees, they kept everything to themselves.
According to a report from Anthony McCarron, writing for Yahoo Sports, we now know that following Sunday’s game in Houston, Yankees All-Stars Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole drove together to Denver to attend the festivities.
Cole’s venture would easily have been excused, but unlike other players who bowed out, he went anyway, while Judge was set to play in the game as the AL starting right fielder.
Filmed as a promo for the All-Star Game, Judge was terrific in a delightful “road trip” promo for the All-Star Game shown during the Fox broadcast — Judge and Yankees teammate Gerrit Cole, who didn’t pitch in the game, did Mad Libs as they “drove” to Denver. He also showed up in the ad for the Yankees’ game at the Field of Dreams in Iowa next month.
Given that Cole’s mysterious illness has never been publicly diagnosed, logical implications arise begging the question – did Cole have symptoms of COVID – and did he expose Judge, who surely was in close contact with Cole and possibly other All-Stars, to the virus?
That’s a heady question and one we may never learn the answer to because it can easily interfere with HIPPA provisions that guard the privacy of all personal medical issues.
ESPN’s Buster Olney also added that in addition to Judge, third baseman Gio Urshela and catcher Kyle Higashioka were in the league’s COVID-19 protocols after testing positive on rapid tests and awaiting confirmation from a test with greater accuracy, sources told ESPN’s, Buster Olney. Relievers Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Wandy Peralta had confirmed positives and were placed on the COVID-19 injured list.
Yankees: Coincidence Or Cause
The mystery deepens because we can assume that except for Cole’s presence in Houston on Sunday, each of the affected players spread out across the country to enjoy a few days off during the All-Star break. There was no further contact among them until they reported for work yesterday.
So, if Cole was a carrier of the virus, does that mean he is the unknowing originator of the positive tests the Yankees are receiving?
Another heady question I can’t answer – I only ask them. Here’s another one.
The Yankees are one of the teams who reported to MLB that 85% (or more) of their players are fully vaccinated. Is Gerrit Cole one of those who are fully vaccinated, and if he is, what are the medical and scientific implications of that?
Again, the Yankee’s policy is that players may or may not publicly declare if they are vaccinated. Neither Cole nor Judge has chosen to indicate either way.
As this is written, we are awaiting further word from the Yankees and MLB, with the largest concern being the health of those testing positive.
Presently, the Yankees-Red Sox game scheduled for tonight at Yankee Stadium is also in limbo.
Refer back to this page for updates throughout the afternoon.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
David Paseornek Interesting. Cole must have tested negative for COVID or he wouldn’t have pitched that gem or been allowed to attend the all-star game. But false positives do happen. Last October I was certain I had COVID and tested negative. Went back 2 days later and tested again but this time I was positive. Makes you wonder
John Casale Can we cancel the series? I don’t want to play Boston anymore
T.J. Roberts “Is Gerrit Cole one of those who are fully vaccinated, and if he is, what are the medical and scientific implications of that?”