NEW YORK — Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not make his scheduled start Tuesday.

New York Manager Aaron Boone made the announcement after Monday night’s 7-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Boone said he was informed of Cole’s positive test in the second inning.

In his second season with the Yankees, the 30-year-old right-hander is 10-6 with a 3.11 ERA in 21 starts. The four-time All-Star is coming off a 14-0 loss at Tampa Bay on July 29 in which he allowed eight runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Boone said Nestor Cortes Jr. likely will start in place of Cole. Cortes has no record and a 1.93 ERA in three starts and eight relief appearances for the Yankees this season.

RAYS: The Tampa Bay Rays are keeping players and staff updated about the surge of COVID-19 cases in Florida.

Rays Manager Kevin Cash said before Monday night’s game with Seattle that the team’s training staff is “pretty adamant about getting messages out and keeping people aware” of the evolving situation.

“Look, we’re all concerned,” Cash said. “I think the players are very aware. We all kind of had our fingers crossed that we were going to get past this to an extent but it doesn’t feel that way right now. So we’ll try to do our due diligence in keeping our group as safe as possible.”

Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data.
The numbers were released Saturday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s.

The increase has impacted baseball in the Sunshine State.

The Philadelphia Phillies’ Class-A and rookie-level Florida Complex League teams located in Clearwater had games canceled or postponed over the weekend. Other minor leagues teams around the state have placed players on the COVID-19 list but were able to continue playing.

Rays reliever Nick Anderson was scheduled to join Triple-A Durham last Thursday to make a rehab appearance for a sprained right elbow, but didn’t because of COVID-19-related issues.

Most employees working inside Tropicana Field for Monday night’s game with the Mariners were back to wearing masks.

RANGERS: Former All-Star outfielder David Dahl was designated for assignment by the rebuilding Texas Rangers, who added DJ Peters to their roster after getting the outfielder on a waiver claim from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dahl hit .210 with four homers and 18 RBI in his 63 games with the Rangers, who signed the 2019 National League All-Star for $2.7 million last winter. He was coming off right shoulder surgery then, and Colorado didn’t offer him a contract. The 27-year-old Dahl missed all of June for Texas with rib cage and upper back issues.

In need of pitching depth, Texas also selected the contract of right-hander Jimmy Herget from Round Rock, and optioned right-hander Demarcus Evans to that Triple-A team after he pitched in two of the previous three games for the Rangers.

BREWERS: Reliever John Axford’s comeback attempt is taking a detour from Toronto to Milwaukee, where the veteran right-hander started his major league career and had his greatest success.

Milwaukee acquired the 38-year-old Axford from the Blue Jays for $1.

Axford hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2018 and began this season as a studio analyst on the Blue Jays’ television broadcast crew. After pitching for Canada in an Olympic qualifier, Axford signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays on June 24.

He went 1-0 with an 0.84 ERA in nine relief appearances for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A Buffalo affiliate. Axford struck out 14 batters and allowed three walks and two hits in 10 2/3 innings. Opposing batters were hitting .061 against him.

Although Major League Baseball’s trade deadline was Friday, this move was still allowable because Axford is a minor league player who wasn’t on anyone’s 40-man roster.

Axford, 38, pitched for the Brewers from 2009-13 and set a team record by collecting 46 saves in 2011. During that 2011 season, Axford had a franchise-record 43 consecutive saves without a blown opportunity.

Axford collected 106 saves during his five-year stint in Milwaukee and ranks second to Dan Plesac (133) on the franchise’s career saves list.

He owns a career record of 38-34 with a 3.86 ERA and 144 saves in 543 games with Milwaukee, St. Louis (2013), Cleveland (2014), Pittsburgh (2014), Colorado (2015), Oakland (2016-17), Toronto (2018) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2018).

Axford will wear No. 59, the number he wore during his previous stint with the Brewers. Bench coach Pat Murphy is switching his jersey number from 59 to 00.

The addition of Axford marks the NL Central-leading Brewers’ latest move to boost their bullpen. They acquired left-hander Daniel Norris from the Detroit Tigers and right-hander John Curtiss from the Miami Marlins on Friday.

• All-Star closer Josh Hader has joined the growing collection of Milwaukee Brewers on the COVID-19 injured list.

Brewers Manager Craig Counsell said Hader reported contact with someone experiencing “COVID-like symptoms.”

“So we tested him, and it came back positive,” Counsell said before the Brewers’ Monday night game with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates were also facing virus-related issues. Pittsburgh placed pitcher Chad Kuhl on the COVID-19 list after a positive test and recalled pitcher Shea Spitzbarth from Triple-A Indianapolis.

The positive tests mean Hader and Kuhl must sit out 10 days.


ORIOLES 7, YANKEES 1: In a game delayed for several minutes while a bevy of groundskeepers tried to corral a scaredy cat in the outfield, Baltimore hit four solo homers off Yankees newcomer Andrew Heaney to beat win at New York.

The Orioles held a six-run lead in the eighth when the cat emerged from the third-base side as Yankees star Aaron Judge batted against Paul Fry.

The cat sped past Baltimore left fielder Ryan McKenna, then got on the warning track and dashed back and forth. The feline climbed up on the low padding along the wall and tried to scale the bullpen fence, but kept falling back down.

Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” as the cat eluded its would-be captors, even after being surrounded by several of them near the 318-foot mark in left field.

Only after 3 1/2 minutes did the cat leave the field, darting into an open gate near the seating area along the third-base line.

Once the cat exited, Judge flied out.

INDIANS 5, BLUE JAYS 2: Jose Ramirez homered to cap a three-run 10th inning and visiting Cleveland snapped Toronto’s four-game winning streak.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 34th home run for the Blue Jays, who lost for the first time in four games since returning north of the border to Rogers Centre.

Recently acquired Toronto reliever Brad Hand (5-6) endured a rocky 10th, opening the inning with a wild pitch that allowed automatic runner Myles Straw to advance to third. Amed Rosario lined Hand’s next pitch through the drawn-in infield for an RBI single.

Four pitches later, Ramirez homered off the left field foul screen, his 23rd.

Bryan Shaw (4-5) worked one inning for the win and Emmanuel Clase finished for his 14th save in 18 opportunities.

Harold Ramirez and Oscar Mercado had back-to-back RBI singles off Blue Jays left-hander Robbie Ray in third. Toronto tied it on Guerrero’s two-run homer off Eli Morgan in the sixth.

Recalled from Triple-A Columbus before the game, Morgan allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. He walked one and matched a career-high by striking out nine.
Ray gave up two runs and six hits in six innings.

MARINERS 8, RAYS 2: Jake Fraley had a two-run single during a five-run third, Chris Flexen went 6 2/3 solid innings, and visiting Seattle beat AL East-leading Tampa Bay.

Fraley, who was activated before the game after being on the COVID-19 injured list since July 18, also made a diving catch in left field on Brandon Lowe’s liner in the third. He went 2 for 4 with a walk and stole a base.

Flexen (10-5) gave up two runs and seven hits, helping the Mariners move within three games of Oakland, which currently holds the second AL wild card. The right-hander struck out six and walked two.

Seattle’s Ty France had three hits with three RBI, and came within a triple of hitting for the cycle.

Randy Arozarena homered as Tampa Bay saw its divisional lead over Boston drop to one game.

RANGERS 4, ANGELS 1: Dane Dunning won consecutive starts for the first time this season for Texas, and the Rangers took the lead for good with a double steal in a home win over Los Angeles.

Brock Holt scored the tie-breaking run with a headfirst slide into home on the back-end of a double steal in the fifth inning, the second time this season the Rangers stole home. Holt later added a sacrifice fly.

Dunning (5-7) got Shohei Ohtani out for the third time, on a ground ball ending the top of the fifth. That was the last batter for Dunning, who struck out three, walked two and allowed one run on three hits.

MARLINS 6, METS 3: Lewis Brinson connected for a first-inning grand slam to back Jesus Luzardo in his Miami debut, and the last-place Marlins beat NL East-leading New York at Miami.

Miguel Rojas had two hits and scored twice for the Marlins, who ended a four-game losing streak after dropping all three games at home to the New York Yankees over the weekend.

Brinson drove a fastball from Tylor Megill into the Mets’ bullpen in right-center for his fourth homer of the season, and the 4-0 lead matched Miami’s run total from the entire series against the Yankees.

Luzardo (3-4), acquired from the Oakland A’s for Starling Marte before the trading deadline, allowed three runs on four hits in five innings. The left-hander struck out five, walked three and hit a batter.

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