Yankees still dealing with COVID issues, Aaron Hicks placed on IL, Giancarlo Stanton update

Pete Caldera
MLB Writer

BALTIMORE – Another member of the Yankees’ traveling party has tested COVID positive, bringing that total to nine on this current road trip.

A support staff member, whose identity was not revealed by the club, returned a positive test Saturday night and is being quarantined at Baltimore.

And due to contact tracing, another staff member was not with the team Sunday according to manager Aaron Boone.

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Five staffers, three coaches and one player have tested COVID positive since Monday, when the Yankees arrived at Tampa, Fla., to begin a 10-game, three-city road trip that wraps with a four-game series at Texas.

Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres, first base coach Reggie Willits, pitching coach Matt Blake and third base coach Phil Nevin had yet to return the multiple negative tests necessary to return to the club.

Aaron Hicks to the IL

New York Yankees' Aaron Hicks follows he flight of his run-scoring sacrifice fly off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jeffrey Springs during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Yankees' Aaron Judge scored.

Aaron Hicks was placed on the 10-day injury list, with a left wrist sprain that might require surgery and a months-long rehab.

For now, Hicks is headed back to New York. No additional tests are planned for the switch-hitting center fielder, dealing with a torn tendon sheath.

Sunday morning, the Yankees called up outfielder Ryan LaMarre and installed him as their center fielder for the series finale at Baltimore, going 0-for-3 in the Orioles' 10-6 win.

The right-handed hitting LaMarre, 32, last played in the majors with the 2019 Minnesota Twins.

Viewed as a solid defender at all three outfield spots, LaMarre could be shuttled in starts at center and left field in the short term, Boone said.

But the manager also expects that veteran Brett Gardner will be “in there a lot’’ at center field while Hicks is sidelined.

Giancarlo Stanton still day-to-day

Giancarlo Stanton (tight left quad) was not in the lineup for a third straight game Sunday, but Boone still considers the slugging designated hitter’s status as day-to-day.

“That’s my hope,’’ Boone said of having Stanton available for the Texas series, beginning Monday. “I don’t think it’s anything that’s overly significant, but something we’re trying to get out in front of a little bit.’’

For the second straight game, Aaron Judge was installed as the DH.

Judge is physically fine, Boone said, but “with Giancarlo down, it’s just a chance to get him a little bit more off his legs right now and take advantage of that open spot for a couple days.’’

Additionally, infielder Rougned Odor (sprained left knee) has improved enough to be considered for activation from the IL during the series against the Texas Rangers, facing his ex-teammates.

Estevan Florial not an option yet  

Estevan Florial is off to a hot start in the minors, but the lefty hitting center fielder was not an option to be called up right now to replace Hicks.

“It’s important that he plays (daily) right now and gets those reps,’’ said Boone, adding that Florial also was not past the 72-hour period from his call-up from Class AA Somerset to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The Yankees traded Mike Tauchman to San Francisco for reliever Wandy Peralta on April 27, and the lefty-hitting outfielder would be useful to have now, though Peralta has already moved into the high-leverage pecking order.

“He’s come in and been a key part of our bullpen since we got him,’’ Boone said. “You’ve got to give up quality to receive quality.’’

Pete Caldera is the Yankees beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.

Email: caldera@northjersey.com Twitter: @pcaldera