While Clay Holmes has a firm grip on the closer’s role, the Yankees would certainly love to have a healthy Aroldis Chapman back in their bullpen. Fortunately for New York, the southpaw took another step toward returning on Tuesday.
Chapman, who landed on the injured list with left Achilles tendinitis on May 24, threw from the Yankee Stadium mound before New York began its series with the Rays. He also did a few PFPs, which had him running from the mound to first base.
Afterward, Chapman said that he felt fine and did not experience any discomfort. He plans on tossing another bullpen session before throwing batting practice. The 34-year-old is not sure if a minor league rehab assignment will be necessary.
“I have another bullpen to do. So you want to see how that goes,” Chapman said. “You have a live BP session that’s scheduled and you also want to see how that goes. Once we get through those, we’ll see where we are.”
Aaron Boone watched a portion of Chapman’s Tuesday session, his second time throwing from a mound since going on the I.L. The manager thought Chapman looked healthy and added, “Hopefully, the next step is starting to face some live hitters.”
Prior to being sidelined, Chapman pitched through the Achilles injury. That coincided with an abysmal stretch for the pitcher, as he allowed at least one earned run in his final five appearances before landing on the I.L. Chapman’s struggles and absence paved the way for Holmes to take his job, a role he has thrived in.
An impending free agent, Chapman will have to regain his manager’s trust upon returning. Even then, Holmes has shown himself to be reliable in the ninth inning. The closer’s job is now his to lose.
“It can be tough, but you’ve got to understand that being a professional athlete, you have to deal with things like that sometimes,” Chapman said of his Achilles. “Everybody wants to play the game, everybody wants to compete. We understand that’s your job to be out there and competing and sometimes you’ve got to deal with things like that.
“You’ve gotta buckle up, toughen up and try to do the best you can out there. The good thing is that we’re trying to put this behind us right now. Like I said, feeling good and looking to get back in there.”
source: Sports Illustrated