Yankees’ coach finally returns after intense battle with COVID-19

New York Yankees, Phil Nevins
Feb 23, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin (53) at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Near mid-May, the New York Yankees had a mini COVID-19 outbreak that affected Gleyber Torres among players, and other members of the staff. One of them was third base coach Phil Nevin, who learned about his positive diagnosis ahead of the May 11-13 series against the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field.

Since that day, Nevin has had a rough time with both COVID-19 and a staph infection, one that significantly weakened him. Now, after almost a month, Nevin is back with the Yankees, doing his job.

“I feel good, comparatively, to where I’ve been,” Nevin told MLB.com. “I’m just getting my strength back, my energy. I’m still going through some treatments that will keep me off the field. … I lost 22 pounds in the process, but it’s really good to be back and around the guys.”

Aaron Boone, the Yankees’ manager, and players were all looking forward to seeing Nevin on the field and his return is very meaningful to them.

“I think he’s one of the best third-base coaches in the game and he does a lot with our running game, defensively, giving signs,” Boone said. “He brings a ton to the table as well as having a real presence in our room. He’s ‘The Viking.’ We’re looking forward to getting him hopefully all the way back to being ‘The Viking.'”

The Yankees coach had a rough time

Nevin didn’t have the luck of those who are asymptomatic positives. He had increasing fevers, and he had to visit the emergency room around a week after starting experiencing them. At one point, he took a walk with Yankees’ pitching coach Matt Blake, but was noticeably fatigued.

Blake told Tim Lentych, the Yankees’ assistant athletic trainer: “Hey, I’ve only known him for a short time, but there’s something else wrong. It doesn’t seem right that this would take him down like this.”

The morning after, blood tests confirmed another issue: a bacterial staph infection. Since they knew early, doctors were able to treat it.

“That phone call probably saved us,” Nevin said. “A lot of things could have been a lot worse.”

Because of his health, Nevin wasn’t able to see his son’s Tyler debut in the big leagues with the Baltimore Orioles.

“I had a great seat. I was on the couch,” an emotional Nevin said. “Not to be able to see him right after the game, that gets you a little bit, because we’ve been talking about it for so long. To not be there for that, that’s something you’ll never get back, but I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

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