After a season that has been mostly clear of complications from COVID-19 for the Brewers, they got a bit of bad news. Christian Yelich told the team yesterday that he was feeling some mild symptoms that could be COVID related. He tested positive and was placed on the COVID-19 IL as a result. Related to that, contact tracing protocols also required Jace Peterson to be put on the IL. As a corresponding move, the Brewers activated Lorenzo Cain, who had finished his rehab assignment, and recalled Pablo Reyes.
The #Brewers have officially announced roster moves ahead of tonight's scheduled game in Pittsburgh:— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) July 27, 2021
•Christian Yelich placed on the COVID-19 IL
•Jace Peterson placed on the COVID-19 IL due to contact tracing
•Lorenzo Cain reinstated from 10-day IL
• Pablo Reyes recalled
Adam McCalvy reports that after the team was notified of Yelich’s symptoms yesterday, he was tested and it came back positive, along with a second confirmation test. The team delayed their travel for a day so the rest of the team could be tested and contact tracing could take place. There were no other positive tests, though as a result of the contact tracing, Jace Peterson was also placed on the COVID-19 IL. Yelich has to miss 10 days and his symptoms must subside before he can return, and Peterson must isolate for 7 days before he can return.
This appears to just be a breakthrough case for the Brewers. The new Delta variant that has been spreading has resulted in cases rising in all states, and even some vaccinated people are still being infected with it. The good news is that the vast majority of vaccinated people with breakthrough cases don’t experience anything worse than mild symptoms, and we do know that Yelich was vaccinated with the rest of the team in April. President of baseball operations David Stearns also commented that Yelich and the team have been taking protocols seriously all season, and this is just a breakthrough case. The team surpassed the 85% vaccination threshold for easing restrictions earlier this season, and the only other case the Brewers have had this season was from Corbin Burnes.
Yelich’s IL stint just happened to coincide with the return of Lorenzo Cain. He has been on the IL for two months recovering from a hamstring strain. He’s played in just 31 games this season, batting .223/.322/.350 and a 87 wRC+ so far this season. In his minor league rehab stint, he played in 9 games and hit .241/.290/.350. Cain has played in just 36 MLB games over the past two seasons, so we will have to see how he is when he returns to the field.
To fill the other roster spot, the Brewers recalled Pablo Reyes. In 34 games in the majors this season, he has batted .212/.255/.250 with a 39 wRC+. His results in the minors have been better, sitting at .250/.347/.406 with a 102 wRC+.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.