8:58 am: Indeed, the Yankees announced this morning they’ve activated Montgomery and Sánchez from the injured list. Luis Gil has also been recalled as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader.
8:20 am: The Yankees announced last night they’ve returned reliever Stephen Ridings and catcher Rob Brantly to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Both players were selected to the big league roster as replacements for players who had tested positive for COVID-19, so they could removed from the active and 40-man rosters without being exposed to waivers.
While New York has yet to formally announce corresponding roster moves, it’s apparent they’re made with the intention of activating left-hander Jordan Montgomery and catcher Gary Sánchez from the COVID-19 injured list before today’s doubleheader against the Red Sox. New York had already indicated Montgomery would get the ball for one half of the twin bill. It was less clear whether Sánchez would be ready to return today, but Brantly’s removal leaves Kyle Higashioka as the only catcher on the big league roster — suggesting Sánchez will indeed make it back onto the field this afternoon.
Ridings was selected two weeks ago and has made his first five MLB appearances this year. He allowed two runs over five frames, punching out seven while issuing a pair of walks. Ridings averaged a huge 97.2 MPH on his sinker and generated swinging strikes on a fantastic 18.9% of his offerings during his brief big league time. Between that impressive showing and his ludicrous minor league numbers this season — a 1.24 ERA with a 38.2% strikeout rate split between Double-A and Triple-A — the 26-year-old figures to get another MLB look before long.
Brantly has come up as a COVID replacement on two separate occasions, tallying 21 plate appearances in a backup role. He’s had a very good season with the RailRiders, hitting .286/.397/.496 over 141 plate appearances.
The Yankees are moving closer to returning to full strength after the recent spread of the coronavirus throughout their clubhouse. Assuming Montgomery and Sánchez are activated today, that’ll leave just Anthony Rizzo and Clay Holmes on the COVID IL. It’s an opportune time for New York to get two key players back, as the Yankees kick off a three-game set against their archrivals in Boston, whom they trail by two games in the American League Wild Card race (with the A’s 1.5 games up on New York for the final AL postseason spot).