WASHINGTON, D.C. — Aroldis Chapman remains asymptomatic, but continues to test positive for COVID-19, according to GM Brian Cashman. Chapman remains in his New York home — working out on his own — but will be unavailable to the Yankees as they open the season Thursday against the Nationals in Washington, D.C.
“He allowed us to share that he was COVID positive after he was cleared to enter the facility, so he developed while he was in house. So we did the contact tracing for up to 15 people for a good seven straight days of testing. Thankfully they all cleared, so we didn’t have an outbreak on-site,” Cashman said. “In the meantime he’s been quarantined at his residence, here in New York. The trainers stay in touch with him, as well as the doctors. He’s been getting repeated testing and until he gets two negative tests that come back — and so far clearly he’s been testing positive since he’s been diagnosed — that’s the process we’re in. If there was anything significantly medically going on with him, he would get the care necessary, but as he’s mostly symptom-free, it’s more of a waiting game.”
Chapman was cleared during the initial intake testing, though he arrived at the rebooted spring training later than other players. He tested positive on July 9 and was sent to his home.
In his absence, Zack Britton will step in as the Yankees closer.
A six-time All-Star, Chapman posted a 2.21 ERA and 37 saves in 60 appearances last season, He was the back end of a bullpen built to shut down games after the fifth inning.
In past seasons, the Yankees have been hit hard by injuries that tested their depth. So they may be uniquely prepared for the challenges of navigating a season that will most likely be impacted by the coronavirus.
“The depth of this franchise is going to be tested once again right out of the gate and that’s where Zack Britton comes into play,” Cashman said. “We have a lot of players on this roster that are capable of a lot of different roles and more so than ever, we’re going to be asking, or leaning on those players to step up into roles at some times that they’re maybe not used to.
“But in this case Britton’s obviously done this before,” Cashman said.
Britton is an established, elite closer who has 145 career saves. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 2016, the year he saved 47 games for the Orioles.
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