Yankees’ Zack Britton being cautious after bout with COVID-19

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TAMPA — Zack Britton is being careful during spring training after a bout with COVID-19 during the offseason.

The left-hander has participated in drills with teammates, but hasn’t thrown off a mound since last Saturday.

Britton said in an email he got COVID-19 in early January and “it hit me pretty good. I lost a good amount of weight.”

Because of that, the Yankees are building him up slowly, but he expects to be ready for Opening Day.

“Physically, I’m all good now but trying to be smart,’’ Britton said.

The 33-year-old is set to be a key part of the Yankees’ bullpen, along with Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Justin Wilson and Darren O’Day.

“We have a very good bullpen on paper,’’ general manager Brian Cashman said Friday. “If it’s not, we’ll make adjustments along the way. I feel like we’re in a good place starting out.”

Zack Britton
Zack Britton
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Gerrit Cole has been pleased by what he has seen from the new baseballs being used this spring after MLB redesigned them.

While Cole noted the “small sample size” he has had in one Grapefruit League start and in a live batting practice on Saturday, the right-hander noted the balls are more “consistent” than in past seasons.

“I haven’t thrown in a game, going through four or five boxes of balls, but I would just say I’ve noticed they’re consistent,” he said. “I’m not seeing as much inconsistency in the seams.”

Cole described how he and other pitchers dealt with balls that varied quite a bit from one another.

“We were seeing seams that were pulled apart by the leather or a large seam or maybe even a deviation in the horseshoe [pattern], like a wiggle,’’ Cole said. “I don’t know how many [balls] I’d have to go through to find something like that before, [but] I haven’t come across anything strikingly weird [this spring], which is new.”

Cole added the grip of the ball is comfortable.

Earlier this spring, Cole said he was pleased the league acknowledged the balls had been an issue, but Saturday, he noted he didn’t want the topic to be brought up throughout the season.

“I hope I don’t have to keep answering questions about it,’’ Cole said. “The landscape has never been unfair. We’re all playing with the same thing. I’m certainly not the only guy that noticed stuff in the last few years.”


Clarke Schmidt has “made steady progress” in his recovery from a common extensor tendon strain, according to manager Aaron Boone, but the right-hander is still “at least another week” away from starting to throw again.

He has been shut down for two weeks and while his range of motion and strength are coming back, Schmidt needs to be “completely asymptomatic” before he can take the next step in his return from injury, which is similar to tennis elbow.


Luis Severino, rehabbing from the Tommy John surgery he underwent just over a year ago, could begin throwing off a mound soon, Boone said.

— Additional reporting by Greg Joyce in Bradenton, Fla.

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