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Yankees ace Gerrit Cole tests positive for COVID-19

MLB: New York Yankees at Miami Marlins

Jul 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts from the dugout during the game against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK -- Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not make his scheduled start, the latest virus setback for the team.

New York manager Aaron Boone made the announcement after a 7-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. He said he was told of the positive test in the second inning.

“As of now he is the only one,” Boone said.

Earlier this month, star slugger Aaron Judge was among six Yankees players who tested positive for coronavirus.

“Definitely it’s tough. It’s been a tough year. We got this news with Cole and definitely a low blow there,” Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez said through an interpreter.

Cole is 10-6 with a 3.11 ERA in 21 starts. The four-time All-Star is coming off a 14-0 loss at Tampa Bay on July 29 in which he allowed eight runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The 30-year-old Cole is in his second season with the Yankees.

Boone said Nestor Cortes Jr. likely will start in place of Cole against the Orioles on Tuesday night. Cortes has no record and a 1.93 ERA in three starts and eight relief appearances for the Yankees this season.

The Yankees’ first game after the All-Star break on July 15 against Boston was postponed because of their virus outbreak.

Judge, pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta and Cortes, catcher Kyle Higashioka and infielder Gio Urshela were put on the COVID-19 injured list.

Several teams around the majors have been affected recently by positive tests for the virus. Among them, the Milwaukee Brewers have put closer Josh Hader, star outfielder Christian Yelich and pitchers Jake Cousins, Jandel Gustave and Hunter Strickland on the COVID-19 injured list in the last week.