The New York Yankees looked totally dead in the water before the MLB trade deadline, but they managed to get the shot in the arm that they needed when they picked up first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs. Rizzo’s sweet left-handed power stroke looked ideal for Yankee Stadium.
Rizzo has hit .281 in his first nine games with the Yankees, launching three home runs and driving in six runs. With Luke Voit still trying to work his way back to full strength due to an injury, Rizzo and Joey Gallo have provided the pop from the left side that this team was missing all year long.
Rizzo was eyeing a chance to help the Yankees sweep Yusei Kikuchi and the Seattle Mariners, but his hot start has hit a major blockade, as the COVID-19 pandemic still looming over the 2021 season has once again impacted the Yankees in a major fashion.
Per Aaron Boone, Rizzo tested positive for COVID-19 on his 32nd birthday. The Yankees might be able to survive without Rizzo for a game or two, but New York might be in for another rough stretch if he is sidelined for a lengthy period of time.
Considering how close the Wild Card race is becoming, this diagnosis could not have come at a worse time. Rizzo will miss the Field of Dreams game against the White Sox, so New York must survive until at least Thursday without him.
Yankees sensation Anthony Rizzo will miss time due to his positive test.
Rizzo came out in June and said that he wasn’t vaccinated, saying that he needed to wait for more “data” to come out. Apparently, that data didn’t reach Rizzo fast enough, and now he could be out for a not-insignificant chunk of time until he tests negative again.
The Yankees are currently dealing with COVID infections to some of their best players, as catcher Gary Sanchez and starting pitcher Gerrit Cole recently tested positive. This team is coming off of a stretch in which they had to soldier on without Aaron Judge due to his own positive test.
The Yankees did activate Voit before today’s game, and he is in the lineup at the No. 5 spot in the order today. While Voit should be able to provide enough pop in the middle of the order to make up for the absence of Rizzo in the short term, it is undeniable that the Yankees are a weaker team without Rizzo available.
Rizzo made his decision to not get vaccinated, leaving this exact scenario with an even greater chance of becoming reality. The rest of the Yankee lineup needs to replace Rizzo’s ability to get on base and come through with clutch hits, which is no easy task.