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Aroldis Chapman anxious to return, but Yankees won’t rush him back from injury

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman pitches in the ninth

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman pitches in the ninth inning against the Astros at Yankee Stadium on Friday, May 12, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

He throws without pain. He is anxious to pitch. Both are good signs as Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman works his way back from a bout of left rotator cuff inflammation.

Chapman made 50 throws on flat ground from a distance of 60 feet before Sunday’s 9-5 win over Oakland at the Stadium. It was his second day of throwing after almost two weeks off. “No pain. No discomfort at all,” he said through a translator.

He traveled to Baltimore with the team and will have a throwing session Monday before resting on Tuesday, he said.

“So far he’s good. He’s in a good spot,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s where we expected him to be . . . There’s still a ways to go. We have to build him up more before we get him on a mound.”

Chapman is 1-0 with seven saves in eight chances and a 3.55 ERA. The six save opportunities since his injury have all been converted by Dellin Betances (five) and Adam Warren (one).

Now that he’s throwing again, Chapman’s biggest obstacle might be dialing back his eagerness to get back into games. The Yankees haven’t put a timetable on it, but he is expected back sometime in June.

“Mentally I feel great. I am anxious to come back, but at the same time, I don’t want to rush myself. I know it takes time to get back on the field,” he said. “I want to keep doing the exercises and strengthening workouts they give me and make sure I am ready to go once they tell me to go.”

Bird ready for rehab

First baseman Greg Bird, on the disabled list since the beginning of May with a bone bruise in his right ankle, flew to Tampa to begin a minor-league rehab assignment, Girardi said. Bird, who had a miserable .450 OPS in his first 19 games before going on the DL, could return before the middle of June.

Headley to return to lineup

Chase Headley was out of the starting lineup a second straight day, but Girardi said the struggling third baseman will start on Monday against the Orioles in Baltimore. The two-day mental break was Girardi’s attempt to shake him from a slump in which he has gone 6-for-61 with 23 strikeouts.

New York Sports