Aroldis Chapman has had a very weird first half in what could be his final season with the Yankees. He dealt with occasional bouts of wildness but ultimately didn’t allow a single run until May 11th (with a key assist from Michael King). Then in the rest of May, the closer fell apart, allowing at least one run across each of his last five appearances and taking two losses in the process. It was revealed that Chapman was battling left Achilles tendinitis, and he hit the injured list on May 24th.
Since then, Clay Holmes has locked down the ninth inning with absolutely sterling work. The Yankees thus haven’t missed Chapman much and were able to take their time with his recovery. He made three rehab appearance between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton in the past week and is now ready to go, so he’s been activated ahead of the weekend series in Cleveland.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees made the following roster moves:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) July 1, 2022
• Reinstated LHP Aroldis Chapman (#54) from the 15-day injured list.
• Placed RHP Miguel Castro on the paternity list.
The corresponding move was thought to be designating long reliever Ryan Weber for assignment once again, but it turns out that bullpenmate Miguel Castro has temporarily departed instead. (Congratulations to Castro and his family!) Since he’s only on the paternity list though, Weber’s clock is likely ticking.
Chapman’s specific role back with the team is a little up in the air. Given Holmes’ All-Star-caliber season, manager Aaron Boone hasn’t committed to returning Chapman to the closer’s role, though he has said that Chapman will see time in the ninth. It seems likely that Boone will pick his spots based on the highest-leverage points in the game, and that might make the most sense in the long run anyway. If the toughest hitters in an opposing lineup are due up in the eighth, then Holmes can do his part to essentially save the game right there, even if Chapman might end up getting the save in the books against lesser batters in the ninth.
If the best hitters are due up in the ninth though, hopefully it’s Holmes set to face them. Either way, Boone knows what kind of quality arm he has in Holmes, and that makes for a good security blanket regardless of how Chapman is deployed.
#Yankees LHP Aroldis Chapman will pick up assignments in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings -- some in high-leverage situations, some not.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 1, 2022
Boone: “I just want to get him in situations where he’s going out there with the best opportunity to be successful."
Boone confirmed as much prior to Friday’s game in Cleveland.