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Yankees shuffle roster as injuries and illness continue to plague team

The Bronx Bombers will open the second half of the season tonight sick and shorthanded, calling on assists from Triple-A Scranton.

American League Division Series Game 1: New York Yankees v. Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Yankees sank a little deeper into this season’s pit of misfortune today. After the postponement of Thursday night’s game against the Red Sox due to six Yankees players testing positive for COVID-19, the poor tidings kept coming.

The good news is the Yankees and Red Sox will play baseball tonight. The bad news is that manager Aaron Boone told reporters he expects the six players who tested positive for COVID-19 (Nestor Cortes Jr, Wandy Peralta, Jonathan Loaisiga, Kyle Higashioka, Gio Urshela, and Aaron Judge) to miss at least 10 games. Higashioka, Urshela and Judge’s cases were all confirmed on Friday. Per Boone, all but one of those players are vaccinated and so far, the five vaccinated players appear to be asymptomatic.

Vaccinated players can come off the COVID-IL in fewer than 10 days if they are asymptomatic and test negative twice. Even if the five vaccinated players are able to return that way, the team still faces an uphill battle in their games versus Boston for the next week.

In addition to the Yankees’ COVID-IL moves, first baseman Luke Voit was put on the standard 10-day IL with a bone bruise in his left knee. It’s the latest in a brutal series of injuries for Voit, as he missed the first 34 games of 2021 recovering from surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in that same knee, returned for 12 games with minimal production, and then hit the IL again with a right oblique strain. Voit was activated on June 22nd, but is now back on the IL after just 17 appearances. The club doesn’t know when he’ll be able to return, and it’s looking more and more like a lost season for the 2020 home run king.

To fill in for Voit and those afflicted on the COVID-19 IL, Chris Gittens (1B), Rob Brantly (C), Hoy Park (INF), and Greg Allen (OF) were added to the Yankees’ 26-man roster.

Since most of these transactions were related to players on the COVID-19 IL, no subsequent 40-man roster moves were required.

Clint Frazier, who is on the IL with what was thought to be vertigo, is still going through testing to figure out the root of his vision issues and dizziness. Boone said Frazier is trying out contact lenses and didn’t give a timeframe for his return, according to Lindsey Adler.

It’s an understatement to say that this is a disappointing start to the second half of the Yankees’ season. The team had hoped to kick off this series against the Red Sox bearing some resemblance to a team in playoff contention. More and more, it’s looking like a Shakespearian tragedy in the Bronx.