Yankees ace Gerrit Cole had been scheduled to start Tuesday’s game against the Orioles but won’t take the mound after testing positive for COVID-19, manager Aaron Boone announced to reporters Monday night (Twitter link via Tyler Kepner of the New York Times). Boone also revealed that third baseman Gio Urshela is headed to the 10-day injured list due to a hamstring strain.
Cole will presumably be placed on the COVID-19 injured list and, as a player who tested positive, be subject to a quarantine period of at least 10 days, as is stipulated in Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols for the 2021 season. Boone added that “as of now,” Cole is the only new positive on the Yankees’ roster. Nestor Cortes Jr. is “likely” to get the start in Cole’s place, although the Yankees have yet to make any firm determinations on how they’ll proceed with the rotation.
With Cole subtracted from the rotation mix for the foreseeable future, the Yankees will likely rely on a combination of Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery, newly acquired Andrew Heaney and the aforementioned Cortes to start games. Domingo German recently went on the injured list due to some shoulder inflammation, and Michael King was recently moved to the 60-day injured list because of a finger injury.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are still waiting on the likes of Corey Kluber, Luis Severino and Clarke Schmidt to mend from their own injuries. Severino was cleared last week to head out on a minor-league rehab assignment, and Schmidt has already made one minor-league rehab start. Both figure to need a couple weeks' worth of rehab stints before they’re options, however.
As for Urshela, his absence will also prove costly. He’s enjoying another solid all-around year in the Bronx, batting .274/.315/.439 with 11 home runs in 330 plate appearances and his typical brand of plus defense at the hot corner. Tyler Wade and the versatile DJ LeMahieu can step in at the hot corner for now, and depending on the length of Urshela’s absence and the yet-unclear timeline of the also-injured Miguel Andujar, it’s possible Andujar could eventually surface as another option. He’s been out since July 10 thanks to a sprained wrist, however, and it’s not yet clear just when he’ll head out on a rehab assignment.