Yankees GM Brian Cashman didn’t acquire Lance Lynn on Monday to be insurance against J.A. Happ being diagnosed with hand, foot and-mouth disease on Tuesday.
However, the 31-year-old Lynn was attractive to the Yankees because he offered rotation and bullpen protection. Now, with Happ being sent home on Tuesday with the contagious condition, the right-handed Lynn might be needed to start against the Red Sox on Saturday at Fenway Park. Luis Cessa, currently at Triple-A, is also an option.
Cashman didn’t rule out Happ making that start but wasn’t ready to say the lefty acquired from the Blue Jays on Thursday was going to be healthy enough to take the ball against a team he has done very well against.
“How about that. I got a call from [trainer] Steve Donohue toward the end of the [4 p.m. Tuesday trade] deadline and he said, ‘I am not sure what is going on here.’ J.A. Happ has some complaints he isn’t feeling right,” Cashman said before the Yankees hosted the downtrodden Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
“He noticed some blistering on his hand. He thought immediately that it was that. We sent him over to New York Presbyterian Hospital. He has been diagnosed with what appears to be, at this point, as a mild case of Coxsackie, which is hand-foot-and-[mouth] disease.’’
It’s the same viral infection Mets starter Noah Syndergaard was diagnosed with July 21, one day after facing the Yankees at the Stadium, which landed him on the disabled list. He is expected to be activated Wednesday.
Cashman wouldn’t promise Happ, who is 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) against the Red Sox, would take the mound Saturday. Against Boston this season, the 35-year-old lefty is 0-1 with a 0.84 ERA in two starts.
“He is still scheduled to start. That is not something as of right now [that] is in jeopardy as of yet,’’ Cashman said. “But we will limit Cessa, who is starting for [Triple-A] Scranton to one inning [Tuesday]. He is a viable option. Lance Lynn is flying into New York [on Tuesday night], and he will be available [Wednesday] out of the pen.’’
Who starts on Saturday against the Red Sox, who put ace Chris Sale on the DL on Tuesday with a shoulder problem, will depend on the news the Yankees receive on Happ’s condition on Wednesday.
“When we get a better feel for J.A. Happ and how he is feeling [Wednesday] and the virus: Is it dissipating or ramping up? It was diagnosed as a very mild case, and our internist felt that if everything is as it is right now, he could probably [pitch] on Saturday,’’ Cashman said. “First and foremost, we will do what’s best for J.A. Happ. If we have to make an adjustment, we have more personnel based on the deadline [trades]. It’s not why we did any of that stuff, but it’s easier than we would have.’’
Cashman didn’t know where Happ contracted the disease but immediately took steps to keep it from running through the clubhouse.
“I have been on the phone getting more education on that and what you do with it,’’ Cashman said. “Get everybody more involved with hand sanitizers for their protection, but essentially there is no treatment. Be patient and let the virus take its course.’’
Cashman said the “situation is fluid” and there are several possible scenarios, including the DL.
“Obviously, the choices turn to: he takes the start, he is not available to start and the disabled-list consideration comes into play, and that is what is best for him and therefore for us’’ Cashman said. “We will re-evaluate [Wednesday], and first and foremost, see how J.A. is feeling and we will adjust accordingly.’’