“We had a positive test on one player, it was Aroldis Chapman, so he is not at camp with us. He has mild symptoms, but overall he is fine,” Boone said. “He won’t be here in the near future. Beyond that, I’m not going to comment further on him.”
Chapman joined Mexican pitcher Luis Cessa and infielder DJ LeMahieu, who tested positive before heading to New York to complete the admissions test protocols prior to starting the second training phase prior to the start of the shortened 2020 campaign, scheduled to start next July 23.
The ‘Cuban Missile’ went through all the admission tests and was allowed to appear for training at Yankees Stadium, where he had been since last Sunday. Chapman even addressed the media on Wednesday and spoke about feeling “ready to play” after throwing two bullpens.
Asked for comment, Chapman told ESPN Digital that he felt fine and had “very few symptoms.” Since MLB also provides access to regular testing for COVID-19 to individuals residing in each player’s home, Chapman’s assistant and right-hand man and personal trainer also underwent coronavirus testing, with negative results.
“Right now, I feel like we are following all the protocols. We have not had any other positive tests. We have followed all the contact tracking protocols. So we feel that we have handled things well and will continue to do so,” added Boone. “And again, this is something that, even in the future, we will probably have another positive test, and it is a matter of doing whatever it takes to, hopefully, on the whole, keep us safe and healthy. But right now we feel that we’re doing a good job. “
There is no set of protocols that can completely eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19, but Major League Baseball and the players union agreed on a comprehensive set of rules and regulations to avoid having to stop the season for positive tests, which are contained in the extensive “2020 Operations Manual”. After a positive test, indicating that the individual has COVID-19, they are instructed to immediately isolate themselves and be treated consistently with all protocols upon obtaining positive results, as detailed in the manual.
The three positive players authorized the Yankees to release their names, as the teams are not required, nor are they allowed, to release the names of any player who tests positive for COVID-19 without that person agreeing to reveal their positive test status.
“I think all the other tests were negative, outside of Chappy, so that’s the good thing,” said outfielder Aaron Hicks, who explained that the players had another round of testing scheduled on Saturday. “Waiting to go through the season without anyone testing positive would be incredible. It is part of what is happening right now; you can catch COVID at any time. We all understand well that it is not anyone’s fault, it is something that simply It happened. Of course, you automatically start looking and breaking your head if you were around so-and-so, or this or that … but we’re doing everything we can to keep us safe. ”
The Yankees still have one of the deepest reliever corps in the big leagues and should have little trouble replacing Chapman, if necessary, with Zack Britton being the favorite to fill the role of closer.
“Obviously, Britton has been an elite closer in baseball for a long time, and he’s still a great pitcher, so he could fill that role naturally. It would be easy to put him in that role,” Boone explained.
“But then again, with our team, and with our bullpen and our pitchers, we are confident that a lot of guys could meet, but Britt would be a natural solution if Chappy hadn’t come back by then.”
On Friday, July 10, MLB announced that, during the two phases of the tests conducted so far, known as the “Intake” and “Monitoring” phases, 83 positive results were obtained from 11,149 samples (0.7%). Among the 83 positives, 71 were players and 12 staff members. Of the 30 major league teams, 28 have had at least one player or staff member who tested COVID-19 positive during the “Admission” and “Monitoring” phases.