Yankees' J.A. Happ on DL with hand, foot and mouth disease

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Friday, August 3, 2018

BOSTON -- One of the New York Yankees' newest additions, left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ, went on the 10-day disabled list Thursday (retroactive to Monday) after being diagnosed earlier this week with what general manager Brian Cashman called a "mild" case of hand, foot and mouth disease.

"The blistering you get from this, it hasn't died down yet. So he's still in that viral stage of things," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He's feeling better [Wednesday] and [Thursday], but wasn't probably going to legitimately be able to be around our team until it completely runs its course. And he's not at that point yet."

Happ will miss his next start, which was slated to be at Fenway Park on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox. Boone believes Happ should be able to return to the rotation for his next turn through it.

Right-hander Luis Cessa has been called up from Triple-A to replace him. In three big-League starts this season, Cessa is 1-2 with a 3.10 ERA. He's allowed just two runs in his past two starts.

Newly acquired first baseman Luke Voit (the Yankees sent reliever Chasen Shreve to St. Louis last weekend for Voit and international signing bonus pool money) also was called up from the Yankees' affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He'll serve as New York's designated hitter in his Yankees debut Thursday night against Boston.

"I haven't really had that much of an opportunity in the big leagues to play a lot," Voit said. "So I'm kind of excited for that new opportunity and that new chance."

Happ, a former Toronto Blue Jays starter who was also dealt to New York just before this week's trade deadline, has a 0.84 ERA against the Red Sox this season.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone had said Wednesday that he was "optimistic" Happ still might make this start if his recovery from the illness continued progressing.

It's unclear how Happ contracted the viral disease that normally affects children younger than 5 years old. The only theory the Yankees have is that he might have received it while flying commercial across the country to make it to New York after being traded.

"No one's really going to have an answer to it, other than just guessing," Cashman said.

The disease also was recently contracted by New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who also went on the 10-day DL because of it.

The Mets believed Syndergaard contracted his case of hand, foot and mouth disease working at a camp for kids during the All-Star break. The day after Syndergaard was at the camp, he pitched five innings in a Mets win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Late in the start, his velocity noticeably decreased as he began feeling blisters on his hands.

Happ's Yankees debut came last Sunday at Yankee Stadium, where he threw six innings of three-hit ball in a win over the Kansas City Royals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand, foot and mouth disease can spread when people who have it cough or sneeze. People also can become infected if they come into contact with an infected person's blister fluid. Symptoms include fever, mouth sores and a skin rash.

Cashman said Happ reported Tuesday to Yankee Stadium, where he informed trainers of blisters on his hands. It was close to the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline when Cashman was told about the blisters. Around the same time, the pitcher was sent to New York Presbyterian Hospital for observation.

As far as keeping the other Yankees free of hand, foot and mouth disease, the team has added more hand sanitizers around the clubhouse and common areas used by players and staff