It is another day in the lives of the 2021 New York Yankees. And that means more adversity for the club to try and overcome, this time in the form of COVID-19 removing Anthony Rizzo from the Yankees’ lineup for the near-future. The recent acquisition and fan favorite tested positive after Saturday’s victory, and thus Luke Voit has returned from his rehab assignment in Scranton.
So far, Rizzo seems okay based on what the organization is saying. First and foremost, best wishes to Rizzo as he fights off COVID-19.
Anthony Rizzo's symptoms seem light right now, per Aaron Boone. Achy, etc. He tested positive after Sat's game. In June, Rizzo said he was unvaccinated and "taking some more time to see the data in all of it." Boone didn't say whether or not Rizzo had been vaccinated since then.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) August 8, 2021
The silver lining is that the 2020 home run king Voit returns today. There is no sugarcoating this loss, however. Rizzo has been all the Yankees could have hoped for and more. He has slotted into the top of the lineup with his left-handed bat, and his glovework at first base has been masterful. Alas, he now joins Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, and Gary Sánchez on the COVID-IL.
If Voit is clicking, he can probably replace Rizzo’s offensive output. But that might be a tall ask for a player who has missed the vast majority of the season and whose bat has been subpar thus far in 2021. Voit seemed to finally be getting hot in the weeks before his most recent IL stint, but we’ll see if he has any rust.
As a procedural move, the Yankees also activated rookie Luis Gil to take the start today, and demoted reliever Nick Nelson:
Prior to today’s game, the Yankees:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) August 8, 2021
•Placed INF Anthony Rizzo on the COVID-19 IL
•Recalled RHP Luis Gil as a replacement player from Triple-A Scranton/WB.
•Returned from rehab & reinstated INF Luke Voit from the 10-day IL.
•Optioned RHP Nick Nelson to Triple-A Scranton/WB.
Even as the Yankees have thrived over the past few weeks, they have had to fight through adversity in the form of illness and injury the whole time. Rizzo joins a long list of players felled by one or the other.
Anthony Rizzo is the Yankees' 12th player to go on the COVID-19 IL this season.— Seth Rothman (@SethDRothman) August 8, 2021
Overall, the Yankees now have a franchise record 40 IL stints this season, and they currently have 18 guys on the shelf.
As Rizzo and the others recover, here is hoping this resurgent Yankees team can hold down the fort and continue to thrive until Rizzo is once again manning first base.