According to multiple reports, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for COVID-19. Manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Saturday afternoon that Chapman is presenting with “mild symptoms”.
This news comes just a week after we learned that DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa also tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Like those two, Chapman will need to undergo a two-week quarantine, display no symptoms, and take two negative tests before he’s eligible to return. Boone told Meredith Marakovits that “[Chapman] will not be here for the foreseeable future.”
Chapman, 32, pitched to a 2.21 ERA (2.28 FIP) across 57 innings in 2019, picking up 37 saves in the process. His strikeout (13.42 K/9) and walk rates (3.95 BB/9) were within his career norms, and he found success pairing his high-octane fastball with an impressive slider. In his absence, Boone expressed confidence in Zack Britton serving as the team’s closer, but that feels like we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The important thing, for now, is that Chapman recovers and the rest of the team continues practice safety measures, including frequent testing. It’s concerning that this positive test popped up after camp started, because Chapman had been on the field, mingling with teammates and throwing bullpen sessions. The possibility exists for this to turn into a superspreader event. Here’s hoping everyone else stays healthy.