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Gerrit Cole Out for Yankees vs. Orioles After Positive COVID-19 Test

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 3, 2021

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 29, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced that starting pitcher Gerrit Cole has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss his scheduled start against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.

Left-hander Nestor Cortes is expected to take his spot in the rotation:

Yankees Videos @snyyankees

Aaron Boone says Gerrit Cole tested positive for COVID and will not make his scheduled start vs. the Orioles tomorrow.<br><br>Nestor Cortes Jr. is expected to start in his place. No other Yankees have tested positive. <a href="https://t.co/lvzGdAQJUU">pic.twitter.com/lvzGdAQJUU</a>

Cole will have to isolate for a minimum of 10 days, per Major League Baseball's health and safety protocols for the 2021 season.

"Individuals who test positive will be required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days, receive appropriate care and monitoring from the Club medical staff, and be cleared by the Joint Committee and the individual's team physician, following a mandatory cardiac evaluation and a determination that the individual no longer presents a risk of infection to others."

The 30-year-old is 10-6 with a 3.11 ERA and an American League-leading 176 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.

Boone said Cole tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday evening. He spoke with reporters via Zoom earlier in the day and said he felt good at this part of the year, per Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News.

The Cole news comes two-and-a-half weeks after six Yankees tested positive for COVID-19, per ESPN's Jeff Passan:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

There is optimism โ€” and that optimism, as is the case with all COVID outbreaks, is cautious. All six of the Yankeesโ€™ cases have now been confirmed, which means Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Kyle Higashioka, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes Jr. and Wandy Peralta would go on COVID IL.

Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres, who was fully vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 in May.

Cortes has impressed in limited action, posting a 1.93 ERA in 11 games (three starts). He most recently held the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays to one run over five innings, striking out five in a 3-1 win on July 28.

He'll be opposed by Alexander Wells, who is 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA and 12 strikeouts. Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium.

The Orioles are in New York for a three-game series. They took the opener 7-1 on Monday.