BOSTON -- Gio Urshela fastened the straps of his batting gloves and cradled the smooth maple handle of his bat, resting it above his right shoulder. The Yankees infielder stared longingly at the glimmering Manhattan skyline, waiting for an opportunity to return to the field.
That was the image that Urshela shared to his Instagram story on July 17, as his teammates were preparing to take the field behind Gerrit Cole against the Red Sox in The Bronx. As Cole faced Boston again on Friday, Urshela still couldn’t step in the batter’s box, but at least he could be in the dugout.
“That was a boring 10 days,” Urshela said. “I had to do something; trying to feel the bat, keep it in the mind.”
Urshela was one of six Yankees to test positive for COVID-19 within the last two weeks, and manager Aaron Boone said that Urshela could be activated as soon as Sunday. Urshela said that this was his second time experiencing COVID-19, having also been infected during the offseason.
“It’s a little weird,” Urshela said. “I feel good. I feel like I’m rested -- a little too much. I’m ready to get back.”
For the first time in nearly two months, Corey Kluber ascended a mound on Friday at Fenway Park, tossing about 25 fastballs and informing club personnel that his right shoulder responded as expected.
“It's not what I would normally do on a side in-between starts, but that wasn't the intent,” Kluber said. “The most important thing is how I bounce back and how I recover from adding new steps along the way.”
Kluber sustained a right subscapular strain during that May 25 outing against the Blue Jays, the start immediately following his May 19 no-hitter against the Rangers in Arlington.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that he is circling September as a potential return date for the 35-year-old, though Kluber said he has not eyeballed the calendar to target a specific date or week.
“If I do that, I start getting ahead of myself,” Kluber said. “I’ve just found that it’s easier for me to take it day by day and not worry too far in advance. That’s probably the best way to be honest with yourself.”
The Yankees are scouring the trade market for potential upgrades in advance of the July 30 Trade Deadline, having checked in with the Rockies regarding shortstop Trevor Story and the Marlins concerning outfielder Starling Marte, among many other possible moves.
“I know Cash and those guys are, around the clock, having those conversations with everyone,” Boone said. “It always takes a couple to tango and we'll see where these next several days lead us. But I know those conversations are being had and deals are being bounced back and forth between teams in overdrive right now. So we'll just have to see.”
This date in Yankees history
June 23, 1997: David Cone struck out 16 Tigers in a 5-2 Yankees victory at Detroit, establishing a franchise record for a right-handed pitcher. Michael Pineda tied the mark in 2015.