Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Thursday that Higashioka (illness) could be ready to rejoin the team and return to action early next week for New York's series in Tampa Bay, Brendan Kuty of The Newark Star-Ledger reports. Both Aaron Judge and Higashioka appear to be on similar timelines to return from the COVID-19 injured list after the two were deactivated when they tested positive for the virus coming out of the All-Star break. Once reinstated from the IL, Higashioka will settle in as the No. 2 catcher behind Gary Sanchez.
Higashioka tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports. Higashioka was placed in the COVID-19 protocols Thursday while awaiting the test results, and he's one of six Yankees who have tested positive for the virus. He'll be sidelined for at least the next 10 days. The Yankees will need to add another catcher to the roster to serve as the backup to Gary Sanchez behind the plate.
Higashioka has been placed in the league's COVID-19 protocols while he awaits a confirmation of a positive test for the virus, Buster Olney of ESPN Higashioka is one of three Yankees who reportedly received a positive test for COVID-19, but the Yankees are awaiting a second test to make sure that the initial result isn't a false positive. If his positive test is confirmed, the catcher will be away from the team at least 10 days.
Higashioka went 1-for-3 with a solo home run during Tuesday's loss to the Royals. Higashioka took Brady Singer deep in the second inning, his first long ball since May 8. The 31-year-old backup catcher now has six long balls on the season while batting .191/.273/.438 across 34 games.
Higashioka went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Tuesday's loss to the Blue Jays. Higashioka got the start at catcher with Gary Sanchez operating as the designated hitter Tuesday, and the backup backstop made his presence felt with his first multi-hit outing of the month. The 31-year-old veteran is only hitting .200, though, and with Sanchez ahead of him, steady playing time will remain hard to come by.
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