Short-handed Yankees start three-game series at Baltimore

MLB Baseball

A case of COVID-19 will deprive Gleyber Torres of visiting one of his favorite ballparks, and the New York Yankees may face other nagging injury concerns.

Already without Torres, New York could be missing Aaron Hicks and Gio Urshela on Friday night when it visits the Baltimore Orioles for the opener of a three-game series.

Torres was placed on the COVID injured list Thursday as the Yankees deal with an outbreak of “breakthrough” cases that can occur in fully vaccinated people. The Yankees had eight members of their traveling party test positive, although Torres was the only player among the eight.

Torres will miss visiting Baltimore, where he has batted .329 with eight homers and 16 RBIs in 23 games. The shortstop sat out the final two games of New York’s series against the Tampa Bay Rays while pitching coach Matt Blake, first base coach Reggie Willits and third base coach Phil Nevin missed the entire series due to positive tests. They will not travel to Baltimore.

The Yankees, who took two of three from the Rays despite scoring just five times, have won 14 of their past 20 games. They followed up a pair of low-scoring wins with a 9-1 loss on Thursday.

Urshela started at shortstop for Torres on Thursday and reached base safely for the 21st straight game. After the contest, New York manager Aaron Boone said Urshela is dealing with the knee injury that kept him out of last weekend’s series against the Washington Nationals, and the infielder could be held out Friday.

“He’s in there every day getting the treatment and maybe something where I give him a day (Friday) with the trip into Baltimore,” Boone said. “I’ll just get with him and the trainers and see where we’re at (Friday).”

Hicks, who is batting .194 with four homers and 14 RBIs, was held out Thursday due to a sore left wrist. He was headed for an MRI exam that could keep him out of the lineup again Friday.

“His strength is good, and we’re hoping it’s not a big deal, but his wrist has been bothering him a little bit the last couple of days,” Boone said.

The Orioles hope to start reversing a 3-7 slide that began after they won three straight from April 29-May 1. Baltimore scored just three times and went 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position in a two-game sweep against the host New York Mets.

“We’re just scuffing offensively,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said after a season-ending, 7-1 loss Wednesday afternoon. “We’re having a tough time putting rallies together.”

Baltimore’s top three hitters, Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays and Trey Mancini, were a combined 4-for-11 on Wednesday, but the rest of the team went 1-for-20.

The Orioles hope to generate offense against Corey Kluber (2-2, 3.06 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his past three outings. Kluber held Baltimore to one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings on April 27. He last pitched Saturday, when he allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Nationals.

Kluber is 4-1 with a 2.73 ERA in eight career starts against Baltimore.

Baltimore’s Dean Kremer (0-3, 6.23 ERA) has yet to duplicate his successful first month in the majors last September, when he allowed two runs over 11 innings in his first two starts against the Yankees. Kremer is 0-2 with an 11.05 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season.

Kremer last faced the Yankees on April 28, when he was shelled for six runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings. In his past two starts, he has allowed four runs on seven hits in 11 innings. On Sunday, he gave up three runs on five hits over five innings in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

–Field Level Media

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