CLEVELAND (AP) — Aroldis Chapman’s got his spot back on the Yankees’ roster. His role coming out of the bullpen remains undefined.
New York reinstated the left-handed reliever from the injured list on Friday after Chapman missed more than a month with tendinitis in his left Achilles tendon.
Chapman, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 22, made two minor league rehab appearances at Double-A Somerset and one with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
The 34-year-old Chapman was 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA and nine saves in 17 games. He was placed on the IL on May 24.
Before the Yankees opened a three-game series against the Guardians, manager Aaron Boone reiterated that he’ll initially use Chapman in a variety of roles — that could be in the middle innings, late or to close.
Boone said the goal is to get Chapman comfortable.
“I want to get him in a really good place to where he’s pitching somewhat regularly and especially here to start, whatever that situation is, whether it’s low leverage or medium leverage or it could be high leverage because it’s what the game dictates,” Boone said. “He could be closing because the game dictates it.”
Although Chapman has been a closer for the majority of his career, Boone isn’t worried about him being asked to do something new.
“I just want to get him in situations where he’s going out there with the best opportunity to be successful and hopefully get into that good rhythm where he’s pounding the strike zone and if we can do that we’ll be in a good spot,” he said.
Even when Chapman is ready, it’s unlikely he’ll take over the primary closing duties from Clay Holmes, who has been virtually unhittable in that role this season. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA and 14 saves in 35 games and his 82.4% ground-ball rate is first among pitchers with 100 or more plate appearances against them
Boone has spoken to Chapman and will keep the line of communication open.
“Yeah, we’ve talked and we’ll continue to,” Boone said. “He deserves that. He’s earned that kind of respect, so as we go we’ll try to be as forthright as we can heading into a game, where we see him.
“But for right now it’s just getting him back in and he’s ready for anything.”
The Yankees also placed right-hander Miguel Castro on the paternity list. Boone expects him to rejoin the team in Pittsburgh on Monday.
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