The Yankees are ready to hand the ball to Aroldis Chapman in a ninth-inning save situation, having activated the closer from the injured list prior to Monday’s series finale against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Chapman has not yet appeared in a game this season after testing positive for COVID-19 in July. The 32-year-old lefty, who posted a 2.21 ERA and 37 saves last season, had been commuting from New York for workouts at the club’s alternate training site in Moosic, Pa.
“He’ll be the closer,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ll build him up slowly this first week as far as by not having him do any back-to-backs or anything like that. We’ll kind of monitor him this week, but in a save situation, he’ll be in there.”
Chapman said that he experienced mild symptoms after receiving his positive coronavirus diagnosis early in Summer Camp, including the loss of his senses of smell and taste. He was able to continue exercising in his Manhattan apartment, documenting several of his workouts on Instagram.
“Luckily, I felt good throughout the whole time in quarantine,” Chapman said through an interpreter. “I had to get creative. I had to purchase some equipment and move some stuff around the apartment to try to get as close as I could to my regular workout routine.”
Zack Britton performed well as the interim closer, leading the Majors with eight saves in as many opportunities. Britton said that he was fine with returning to the setup role that he filled last season, especially with right-hander Tommy Kahnle lost for the season following Tommy John surgery.