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Happ sent home with hand, foot, mouth virus

Lefty slated to start Saturday; Cessa rests at Triple-A just in case
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- J.A. Happ was sent home before Tuesday's game against the Orioles after contracting hand, foot and mouth disease.

As Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was nearing the end of the non-waiver Trade Deadline on Tuesday afternoon, he received an unexpected phone call from head athletic trainer Steve Donahue, breaking the news about the team's newly acquired pitcher.

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NEW YORK -- J.A. Happ was sent home before Tuesday's game against the Orioles after contracting hand, foot and mouth disease.

As Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was nearing the end of the non-waiver Trade Deadline on Tuesday afternoon, he received an unexpected phone call from head athletic trainer Steve Donahue, breaking the news about the team's newly acquired pitcher.

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"'Hey just wanted to give you a heads-up, not sure what's going here, but J.A. Happ has some complaints, he's not feeling right and he had noticed some blistering on his hands, so he thought immediately it may be [hand, foot and mouth],'" Cashman said he heard from Donahue. "So [Donahue] sent [Happ] to NY Presbyterian [Hospital], and he has been diagnosed with what appears to be at this point a mild case of coxsackie, which is hand foot and throat disease. So we sent him home."

The left-hander was not scheduled to make the start, but it could affect his scheduled start on Saturday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"He's still scheduled to start," Cashman said. "That's not something that, as of now, is in jeopardy. Tonight we're going to limit [Luis] Cessa, who's starting for [Triple-A] Scranton, to one inning to keep him a viable option. ... First and foremost, we'll do what's best for J.A. Happ. He'll keep us in communication and if we need to make an adjustment, we have more personnel based on the Deadline to pivot easier than maybe we would have."

In three Major League starts this year, Cessa is 1-2 with a 3.14 ERA. He could be used on Saturday if Happ were to need more than the next three days to recover. Lance Lynn was expected to land in New York on Tuesday night, and he could be another option as a starter or, more likely, as a long reliever.

"We're in a fluid situation," Cashman said. "[If Happ is] not available to start, then I would think more likely than not the disabled list consideration comes into play, if that's what's best for him and therefore for us. We just don't know yet, so that's why we're going to keep our powder dry and Scranton is going to have to wear it tonight. They're going to have to come up with eight innings out of the 'pen and then we'll re-evaluate everything by tomorrow. The most important thing is to do right by him and we'll adjust accordingly."

This is the second time this season that a player has contracted the disease -- Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard was placed on the 10-day disabled list on July 23 after likely catching the virus from an appearance at a baseball camp for kids during the All-Star break.

Hand, foot and mouth disease most often occurs in children under 10 and is characterized by a rash of small blister-like sores on the hands, feet and in the mouth. Fevers, sore throats and headaches are common symptoms. It usually passes in a week and the only treatment is pain relievers.

"I've just been on the phone getting a little more education," Cashman said. "What do you do with it? Obviously getting everybody involved with a lot more hand sanitizers for their safety. There's no real treatment. You monitor the patient and let the virus take its course."

Happ has made one start with the Yankees since being traded on Thursday from the Blue Jays. In Sunday's 6-3 win against the Royals, Happ went six innings, surrendering three hits and one run while striking out two.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ