Gio Urshela of the Yankees leaves the game after his promotion.
Wednesday night, the Yankees’ latest cleanup hitter lasted seven innings.
Gio Urshela, who won the promotion as one of the few active Yankees in a struggling lineup, left Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Braves with lower back tightness and is classified as “day-to-day” by Aaron Boone.
“I believe it simply locked up a little bit on him, most likely due to the cold, prior to his final at-bat,” the manager explained. “I believe he may have persisted, but we’ll have to see how he feels after receiving treatment here. I don’t believe it is something serious.”
Boone confirmed that Urshela was not expected to undergo any tests after going 1-for-3 with an infield single.
The Yankees are on the verge of relaxing their COVID-19 protocols.
The club is getting close to the point that 85 percent of its traveling party will be two weeks away from being completely vaccinated — the cutoff MLB has established as a benchmark for relaxing certain health and safety protocols.
Boone calculated the Yankees’ winning percentage to be close to 84 percent. A spokesman added that they are also waiting for a few Tier 1 staff to complete the 14-day grace period following their second shot — or single Johnson & Johnson dose. The bulk of the Yankees batted Wednesday after a 14-day layoff.
If the Yankees reach 85 percent, they will no longer be required to wear masks in the dugout or bullpen and will be able to eat in restaurants indoors, among other improvements. Additionally, vaccinees would not be required to sit out due to touch tracing if a member of the club tests positive for the virus.
Steve Kalafer, the owner of the Yankees’ new Double-A affiliate, the Somerset Patriots, died of cancer on Wednesday. He was 71 years old.
Kalafer formed the Bridgewater, New Jersey-based Patriots in the independent Atlantic League in 1998 and established close relationships with Joe Torre, Willie Randolph, John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman, and other Yankees organization figures during his tenure as a regular at the Stadium. On May 4, the Patriots will make their affiliate minor league debut.
“Every time I walk into a ballpark, I will think of him with an incredible amount of affection, reverence, and appreciation,” Patriots emeritus manager Sparky Lyle, a former Yankees great, said in a statement. “He was the Somerset Patriots, and it will be up to all of us to ensure that his mission is carried on well into the future.”
After allowing a home run and two walks in the ninth inning, the Yankees optioned RHP Brooks Kriske to the alternate site.