Yelich tests positive for COVID, was vaccinated

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has tested positive for the coronavirus and is showing mild symptoms.

Yelich and utilityman Jace Peterson were placed on the COVID-19 injured list, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said Tuesday, adding that Peterson was sidelined due to contact tracing and hasn't tested positive.

Yelich — who has been vaccinated against the virus — will miss at least 10 days from the date of his positive test and Peterson will miss at least seven days, Stearns said.

"Clearly disappointing news for Christian," Stearns said. "The most important thing is for him to feel better. He has mild symptoms. I talked to him this morning. He’s in good spirits. He’s resting and it’s certainly our hope that he can knock this out quickly and feel better quickly."

The Brewers activated outfielder Lorenzo Cain from the injured list and called up infielder Pablo Reyes from Triple-A Nashville to fill the open roster spots as they prepared to open a three-game series at Pittsburgh. Cain hasn’t played since May 31 because of a strained right hamstring.

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The team delayed its scheduled Monday night flight to Pittsburgh and didn’t leave until Tuesday morning in order to go through contact tracing and await test results.

"Unfortunately we keep getting reminders that we’re past the worst of it, but it's going to pop up a little bit here," Brewers Manager Craig Counsell said.

Stearns noted that Yelich had gotten vaccinated at the start of the season along with many of his teammates. The Brewers announced April 5 that much of the team had received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine together.

"He has taken precautions seriously and guidelines seriously throughout the season," Stearns said. "And unfortunately yesterday he started developing some mild symptoms. He did the right thing and reported those mild symptoms. We got him a test yesterday afternoon. The test returned positive and we got a confirmation test which also came back positive."

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The setback continues a frustrating season for Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP.

Yelich played one game in a five-week stretch from mid-April to mid-May due to a lower back strain. He is batting .235 with six homers, 28 RBIs and a .367 slugging percentage in 67 games.

"I don’t think this has been his favorite year in totality," Stearns said. "He has dealt with a lot. When I talked to him this morning, he wasn’t feeling great, but he was in good spirits. It’s just another challenge that he’s going to overcome. He’ll get through this. He’ll be back with the team. And we’re certainly going to look forward to getting him back."

Brewers fans react

For Brewers fans who can't be in Pittsburgh to watch the series against the Pirates, Broken Bat Brewing on Pittsburgh Avenue might be the next best thing.

"They’re doing great. I’m really proud of the boys," said fan Brennen Becker.

It has been an impressive season to watch, the team leading its division, but in the last 24 hours, they are left without one of their stars.

"Without him there, it changes the whole dynamic of the team and the morale," fan Grace Jamieson said. "It’s sad because he’s clearly one of the best in the league and I just think it shows how important it is to get vaccinated."

The fully-vaccinated Yelich is one of the rare breakthrough cases of COVID-19. Health experts say it shows people can still get COVID-19 but stress the importance of the vaccine.

"Vaccines are a layer of protection, they’re the strongest layer of protection we have, for sure," said Dr. Ben Weston with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

For fans, it's eye-opening; one of the game's biggest players is now sidelined by the virus.

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