A lot of Yankees news emerged following last night’s game, more than we could keep up with in our daily link roundup. Here are some key news and notes, including a roster move, an injury update, and some clubhouse drama:
Yankees activate Aroldis Chapman, DFA David Hale
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees activated closer Aroldis Chapman from the COVID-19 injured list. As a corresponding move, the team designated right-handed pitcher David Hale for assignment. Chapman, 32, had been working out at the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton.
In 2019, the flame-throwing closer pitched to a 2.21 ERA (2.28 FIP) with a 13.42 K/9 over 57 innings. He notched 37 saves in the process. At season’s end, the Yankees extended Chapman, who had an opt-out clause due in his contract. The team added an extra year and $18 million to his existing deal, keeping him in pinstripes through 2022.
Hale, 32, appeared in five games for the Yankees this season. He owned a 3.00 ERA (2.30 FIP) over six innings. A frequent rider of the Scranton Shuttle, his transaction log is something else:
Gotta say, David Hale doesn’t get enough credit for being a team player. His ERA with the Yankees is 2.96. pic.twitter.com/GckF9y2pLB— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) August 6, 2020
In order for Hale to go back to Scranton, he will need to clear waivers and decline free agency. That’s no sure thing with Nick Tropeano getting scooped up by the Pirates.
DJ LeMahieu to miss 2-3 weeks with thumb injury
The Yankees have been dealing with a litany of injuries this week, first losing sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and then Aaron Judge, and on Saturday another core piece of their lineup went down. DJ LeMahieu exited in the sixth inning of that day’s game against the Red Sox after spraining his thumb on a swing in an earlier at-bat.
The team put LeMahieu on the IL the next day, with imaging results pending to discover how serious the injury was. There was some initial concern that surgery might be required, but tests came back indicating there was no fracture, just inflammation. The Yankee second baseman is expected to miss 2-3 weeks according to Aaron Boone, though we’ll have to wait and see if LeMahieu returns in that timeline.
J.A. Happ, Aaron Boone have uncomfortable conversation
Last night saw J.A. Happ turn in his first successful start of the season, with the left-hander holding the Red Sox to one run on three hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out three and walked two. That kind of performance counts as good for Happ now, who hasn’t had an extended stretch of effectiveness since probably the 2018 season—maybe September 2019.
The left-hander raised eyebrows in his postgame interview, however, when describing a tense conversation with Boone. “I had two conversations with Boonie,” Happ told Bryan Hoch. “One of them, I thought went very well. And the second one I didn’t think went very well. But we both said what we needed to say, and it’s fine. And we’re kind of moving forward.”
That sounds ominous. Happ then tried to clear things up, telling Hoch, “Nobody wants to get skipped. I want to be out there and pitch every five days. I feel like I should be. So that’s what I mean. There was no argument, nothing bigger than that. It was just, I didn’t expect it. I guess that’s why I’m saying it didn’t go well.”
Having pitched in parts of 14 seasons, almost exclusively as a starter, Happ obviously has confidence in his abilities. Getting skipped in the rotation bruised his ego, and that’s fair! Good on him for expressing his concern instead of sitting on it, and nice job by Boone for talking Happ through it. It seemed to work out well for the Yankees on Sunday night.