New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu and right-hander Luis Cessa have tested positive for COVID-19 and are away from the team, the club announced Saturday.
"We are hopeful (their absence) will be a short time but they are not here at this point, so we'll see how that continues to unfold over the next several days," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said during a virtual news conference with reporters following workouts.
According to Boone, both players tested positive before arriving to New York and are self-isolating at their homes, outside the state. Boone said LeMahieu was asymptomatic while Cessa has mild symptoms.
Saturday was the club's first official workout at Yankee Stadium as clubs renew preparations for the 2020 season. MLB was in the middle of spring training when the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports. Opening Day was originally scheduled for March 26. The season will now begin July 23 or 24.
MLB and the players union on Friday announced that a total of 31 players and seven staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 through the first wave of testing. According to a joint release, 3,185 total samples were tested, making for a positivity rate of 1.2 percent. Of the league's 30 teams, 19 have had at least one positive test.
At the time of the news conference, the Yankees were not sure if LeMahieu and Cessa were among those counted in the 31 positives as the two tested positive before MLB's official intake screening, which occurs at least 48 hours before a player reports to workouts.
LeMahieu, 31, was an All-Star in his first season with the Yankees in 2019. Playing at least 40 games each at first, second and third base, LeMahieu batted .327 with 26 home runs, 102 RBIs and 109 runs scored -- all career highs -- and finished fourth in MVP voting. He is a .302 career hitter with 75 homers, 451 RBIs and 610 runs scored in 1,100 games played across nine seasons (one with the Chicago Cubs and seven with Colorado before signing with the Yankees as a free agent).
Cessa, 23, is entering his fifth major league season, all with the Yankees. He is 7-12 with a 4.50 ERA in 86 career appearances (19 starts). Last season he went 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA in 43 games, striking out 75 and walking 31 across 81 innings pitched and also picking up a save.
--Field Level Media