Yankees lose key reliever to COVID-19 list and make 2 other roster moves

Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees
Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

COVID? COVID?! Wasn't that a 2020-2021 thing? Just kiddin'. Reports of a new variant have been making the news recently, but it's genuinely surprising to see a player placed on the COVID-19 list in 2024.

It happened to the New York Yankees on Monday, though, when Ian Hamilton hit the seven-day list with the virus. This could be one of those "phantom" stints, too, because the right-hander hasn't exactly been himself lately. A false positive never hurt anybody, has it?

Hamilton owns a 3.18 ERA, 3.64 FIP and 1.41 WHIP with just 19 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings this season. He's looked "off" but Yankees fans have been unable to put their finger on it. The right-hander has given up three earned runs on 10 hits over his last 5 1/3 innings. And his appearance before that streak began was when he tried to keep the game in check against the Tigers but allowed a hit and a walk to give away the Yankees' lead.

So we'd venture to say the seven-day layoff could be good for Hamilton, who is still viewed as an important bullpen piece for the Bombers. His emergence last season had the team showing a lot of faith in him heading into 2024.

The corresponding moves featured the Yankees calling up lefty Clayton Andrews and designating right-hander Colby White for assignment.

Yankees lose key reliever to COVID-19 list and make 2 other roster moves

The Yankees' bullpen has indeed been elite in many ways, but the good times will come to an end soon. There's too much maneuvering in and out of trouble, and there aren't enough strikeouts. For example, Hamilton averaged 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings last year, and that number has dipped to 7.5 to start this season.

In the meantime, the Yankees will see what they might have in Andrews, who was acquired from the Brewers this offseason right before spring training. The Yankees actually designated him for assignment in April, but he cleared waivers and returned to Triple-A Scranton.

He's 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 15 innings of work. He's struck out 18 batters, but walks have been a massive issue (12, good for 7.2 BB/9). At this point, though, the Yankees need bodies who can eat some innings.

As for White, he was picked up last week before the series against the Rays in what many didn't view as a longer-term play. He could be back, however, if he clears waivers like Andrews.

Thankfully, the Yankees' bullpen has gotten a ton of rest over the last few series because of the starting rotation's excellent work, so hopefully we're not seeing too many instances where Andrews is called upon to log high-leverage frames.