This New York Yankees team has been more resilient than their fans have given them credit for.
Known throughout MLB for their late-game collapses and occasionally molasses-based offense, this year’s Yanks have absorbed more gut punches than your average contender, and yet they remain firmly in the Wild Card mix, favored for the No. 2 spot according to many trusted projections.
If they’re going to continue their ascent up the standings, they’ll need to do so without yet another key contributor, felled by a positive COVID test a few days after the team lost Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery in rapid succession.
Catcher Gary Sánchez, who’s shaken off struggles of his own to post a firmly-above-average season, will be on the shelf for at least 10 days recuperating.
At the very least, Yankee fans feel confident in Kyle Higashioka, their competent backup who’s already suffered the same fate and returned.
Unfortunately, after losing two pitchers and a catcher in recent days, fans can’t be sure this is the end of their troubles with this infectious disease.
Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez has COVID, per Aaron Boone.
It’s approaching self-parody at this point. Truly, how many times can you write a “COVID outbreak worsens” story for a near-fully-vaccinated team? How many different and distinct COVID outbreaks can worsen during a given year? Because we’re sitting on three.
Sánchez’s positive test, along with those produced by Cole and Montgomery, have come following a six-game road trip in the state of Florida, one of America’s Delta variant hotspots. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, preferred by the Yankees, does not provide nearly as much protection as the other vaccines against this variant, making the latest burst of positives less shocking than the initial two waves.
Of course, not every Yankee has Johnson & Johnson. Some have Pfizer, some have Moderna, and others remain unvaccinated.
For now, fans must hope that this roster is able to continue to hike themselves up in key moments. It does feel like this season would’ve folded weeks, if not months, ago in the hands of a lesser group of me.
It’s difficult to remain confident when faced with another all-encompassing wave of bad news, but the Yankees have managed so far.