The Yankees have gotten off to one of the best starts in baseball, but they know it could all be for naught if COVID-19 gets its way.
“I think everybody wonders, whether it be players or fans or who knows, even the league in general,” Brett Gardner said before the Yankees faced the Red Sox Saturday night. “But I think right now, it’s up to us to focus on one day at a time, like we always try to do and be as smart as we can and hope things get better — the numbers do get better and the things we’ve seen over the last week or so are the worst of it.”
Those numbers include players from the Marlins and Cardinals testing positive for coronavirus, as well as games postponed throughout the league as teams like the Phillies wait for test results after facing teams with infected players.
Amidst speculation the season was in jeopardy and could be canceled or put on hold as early as Monday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN Saturday, “We are playing.”
That means the Yankees are scheduled to play host to the Phillies on Monday and Tuesday in The Bronx and then visit Philadelphia for two more games on Wednesday and Thursday. Those games are makeups of ones scheduled for last week before the Phillies’ season was put on pause because they played the Marlins before their outbreak. The Yankees ended up missing two games and then playing the Orioles in Baltimore for a pair of games.
“It’s been a weird week,’’ Gardner said. “Going to Philadelphia for two days and basically not leaving the hotel and not playing the Phillies and then going to Baltimore and extending the road trip. A lot of guys were wearing clothes for the second or third time through those last couple days. Just make the most of it. We adjust on the fly and have to be resilient. You have to be able to respond to some adversity. I think our guys are built for that.”
Despite the rough recent news, James Paxton said he hasn’t lost faith baseball can complete its 60-game schedule.
“I’m hopeful that we can complete the season,’’ Paxton said. “I think things need to go well and protocols need to be taken seriously from the top down in organizations. Hopefully we won’t experience more positives going forward. Chances are we will get some, but I hope we can handle those swiftly and not have it mess with the schedule too much.”
When asked about playing the Phillies on Monday, manager Aaron Boone noted that would “hopefully” happen.
“If anything, this season has taught us — and the virus has taught us — this is a day-by-day, week-by-week kind of situation we exist in.”
So he’ll be ready for the Phillies when — and if — they end up visiting the Stadium on Monday.
“Obviously, there’s been some flux with it and with the Phillies’ situation and when they’re able to get back at it,’’ Boone said. “You can speculate and hear one thing and it moves to another thing. Right now, my focus is all on the Red Sox this weekend.”
And as teams continue to be impacted by new cases and other players opt out of the season — such as Milwaukee’s Lorenzo Cain on Saturday — Gardner and his teammates monitor it all.
“It’s definitely something we’re aware of,’’ Gardner said of the uncertainty regarding the season. “We obviously have to be very aware of it and keep a close eye on things around the league. It’s something we talk about. It’s something we take very seriously as a team. There are obviously 30 teams in the league, so I think it’s important we all take it seriously and be as smart as we can, not just on the field and at the field, but away from the field.”
And they’ll do that for as long as they can.
“It’s not easy, but we’re definitely enjoying being back on the field playing,’’ Gardner said. “Hopefully all teams can be as smart as possible so we can see this thing through.”