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Yankees Covid Outbreak: The Gleyber Torres Case

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The Yankees Covid outbreak continued when Gleyber Torres tested positive for the virus on Thursday. He joins seven Yankees staff members, including pitching coach Matt Blake and third base coach Phil Nevin, on the list of breakthrough cases, which means that they contracted Covid-19 even though they were already fully vaccinated. His health being the number one priority, of course, Gleyber Torres is expected to miss at least ten days before being eligible to return to the Yankees.

Yankees Covid Outbreak: Gleyber Torres Details

Not only was Gleyber Torres fully vaccinated from Covid-19 by receiving the Johnson and Johnson shot, but he already contracted the virus once back in December. This makes him a very peculiar case not just for the Yankees or for baseball in general, but a national story in the mainstream news outlets as well. It is justifiably a cause for concern to the public in reference to the effects of the virus, including the reality of multiple infections, and the uncertain success rate of the vaccine.

According to general manager Brian Cashman in a quote to MLB, this Yankees Covid outbreak should not be a reason for the general public to be more fearful, but rather should be seen as proof that the vaccine is in fact working. Of the eight people that tested positive within the organization, seven of them were completely asymptomatic and the eighth felt “normal” after just a day of relatively minor symptoms. The vaccine they received may not have prevented them from contracting the virus, but it does appear that it helped to avoid any major Covid related circumstances.

Replacing Gleyber Torres: The Defensive Dilemma

Among the very long list of various situations that Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone are dealing with in relation to the Yankees Covid outbreak, a big one is replacing Gleyber Torres in the lineup while he serves his time on the Injured List to recover back to full health and return while testing negative. This is a logistical challenge because Gleyber Torres is the only real shortstop who has a case to be in the starting lineup every day. While it does help to have Luke Voit back after returning from injury, the absence of Rougned Odor due to an injury of his own further complicates the situation.

Tyler Wade is capable of playing shortstop if he’s asked to, but the Yankees prefer to use him off the bench as a super-utility type of player. Gio Urshela could slide over to shortstop and DJ LeMahieu would then cover third base, but that leaves the Yankees in the same predicament with the second base position in relation to Tyler Wade. If Rougned Odor was available to play second base, that would be the likely configuration. Instead, this is clearly a challenge to the lack of infield depth on the Yankees roster.

Replacing Gleyber Torres: The Temporary Solution

Though not at all ideal, it appears that the Yankees have decided on their temporary solution to this problem. After recalling Miguel Andujar on Thursday, he was given the start at third base while Gio Urshela played shortstop and DJ LeMahieu was at his usual second base position. The Yankees organization has been working with Andujar extensively away from the majors to convert him to a left fielder due to his defensive shortcomings at third base. In an ironic twist of events due to the circumstances, it looks like Andujar will get a chance to play the very position that he was transitioned away from.

While the defense may be compromised by this new temporary lineup, the offense actually has a chance to benefit. Losing Gleyber Torres is not a good thing for any offense long term, but given the state of their hitting right now it opens up an opportunity for short-term gain. The Yankees have uncharacteristically struggled to score runs this season so a change in personnel may provide them with the spark they need. The fill-in of Andujar, paired with the return of Voit, will look to be that offensive spark. The Yankees Covid outbreak is a terrible situation for all involved, but maybe the bats waking up can be the one silver lining.

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Adam Hulse is a baseball writer at Overtime Heroics. He is also the host of his own Podcast titled: Sports Talk with Adam Hulse