The Yankees have been surging despite missing quite a few players from their main roster, but they’re slowly getting the band back together. Today the team announced that Anthony Rizzo will rejoin the team from the COVID Injured List, the fourth member of the team to return from their latest bout with the virus. On top of that, Aroldis Chapman will also be activated from the IL after being sat down with inflammation in his elbow.
Rizzo had a strong start in nine games with the Yankees after being traded from the Cubs, slashing .281/.400/.563 with three home runs. Rizzo stepped into a void at first base that had largely been empty thanks to Luke Voit’s absence, and then ironically was filled by Voit’s return once Rizzo had to go on the IL himself. Rizzo is back in the starting lineup at first tonight against the Red Sox while Voit isn’t starting, but the plan according to manager Aaron Boone is to get Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield more to open up a spot at DH for Voit.
Meanwhile, Chapman steps back into a bullpen that could use some depth at the top. Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green have mostly handled the ninth inning in his absence, but Zack Britton’s struggles have opened up a gap in the otherwise stalwart relief pool. Chapman has dealt with his own issues this year, but he was looking on form before this stint on the IL and should help solidify the ‘pen once more.
Outfielder Jonathan Davis and reliever Brody Koerner were both optioned to Triple-A Scranton in order to make room for Rizzo and Chapman on the 26-man roster. One more injury update to note is that Boone mentioned the team hopes to have an update on Luis Severino’s status by tomorrow. Severino has been in limbo lately, preemptively leaving a rehab start and having an MRI done before seeking a second opinion on whatever is ailing him.
Right-hander Nick Nelson was actually optioned instead of Koerner, per the Yankees’ official release.