NYY Minor Leaguer tests positive for COVID-19

March 15th, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. -- A Yankees Minor League player has tested positive for the coronavirus, general manager Brian Cashman said on Sunday, marking the first known case to impact the Major League Baseball world.

The team is not divulging the player’s identity, citing HIPAA regulations, and Cashman said that the player’s symptoms are improving.

“The player’s symptoms have dissipated, and he is resolved symptom-wise,” Cashman said. “No more fever, no more fatigue. He is much better, although he is still isolated.”

According to Cashman, the player called the club on Friday morning to report a fever and fatigue. He did not report to the facility, and team medical staff checked his temperature before testing him for influenza and strep throat.

Both tests were negative, prompting the club to send him to Tampa General Hospital on Friday morning for what Cashman said was the first -- and, to date, only -- coronavirus test issued to any Yankees player, coach or employee. The positive result was delivered to the Yankees late on Saturday by a laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla.

“He’s a younger player, and so because of that -- first and foremost, he was not in any of the groups that were with Major League players,” Cashman said. “We did our due diligence about any staff members or Major League players that were here Thursday when he hadn’t been presenting any symptoms at that time. … What were the possible interactions?

“Did he stay for the game? He did not. He left early and went home and stayed at his home and ordered pizza. He did not have any interactions with our Major League players. And the [Hillsborough County] Department of Health has communicated to us that they had very little concern about that.”

The player who tested positive has never entered George M. Steinbrenner Field and there is no known link to any of the Major League players, according to director of media relations Jason Zillo.

Out of an abundance of caution, and with coordination from the local Department of Health, the Yankees have self-quarantined all Minor League players, plus some coaches and personnel until March 25. Players are receiving boxed meals in their hotel rooms and are in constant communication with the club via an app called Teamworks.

“We’ve told them to hold tight, relax and continue the best practices of social distancing like washing your hands,” Cashman said. “[Players are encouraged to] continue to communicate and engage with any symptom that may arise.”

Cashman said that the Minor League complex, which has been shuttered since Friday, will undergo extensive cleaning and will also be closed until March 25. Yankees Minor Leaguers train at a player development complex adjacent to the Major League complex, separated from the Steinbrenner Field footprint by Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“We've already initiated those deep cleans with a specific company involving a bleaching component,” Cashman said. “As we speak, the Minor League facility is getting re-cleaned again, not for the first time this week. The Major League facility is going to be cleaned again after the Minor League facility is done today. So those practices have been in place and will continue to be in place.”

The local Department of Health has continued to provide the Yankees with information related to the spread and science of the coronavirus, which the team is passing along to players digitally.

“Clearly, we're in an ever-changing world, as you all know,” Cashman said.