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Aroldis Chapman 'in a groove' with 12 saves in a row 

Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees pitches in the

Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees pitches in the ninth inning against the Padres at Yankee Stadium on Monday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Sometimes a decrease in a pitcher’s velocity in spring training is telling, as it was for Dellin Betances, who has still not thrown a pitch for the Yankees this season because of a right shoulder impingement.

There was also concern about Aroldis Chapman, who was not lighting up the radar guns as he has in the past in Florida or in the early weeks of the regular season.

But Chapman has been more than OK. The Yankees closer went into Tuesday with 15 saves in 16 opportunities, including his 12th in a row in Monday’s 5-2 victory over the Padres.

Chapman may not hit 105 miles per hour anymore, but the 31-year-old is still averaging 98.2 mph with his fastball, according to, which had Chapman at 99.1 with that pitch in 2018.

“The consistency’s been there and the velocity’s been really good,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Anytime we don’t see 100 or 100-plus out of Chapman, it’s a story, which is a little bit funny. If he’s 96, 97, it’s like, ‘Is he OK?’ ''

Chapman has a 1.66 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. Opponents are batting .177 against the lefthander. He hasn’t had problems with the sore knee that cost him time last season.

“He’s been really healthy since spring training,” Boone said. “I feel like his work in spring training was really good. I feel like he’s gotten in a groove here lately where his command’s been really good, so he’s been filling up the strike zone pretty well. And the slider – I think we saw it last year become a more important pitch for him – it’s now an absolute factor.”

Paxton ready to go

 As expected, Boone announced that James Paxton (left knee inflammation) will come off the injured list to start against the Padres on Wednesday ... Didi Gregorius' first rehab game for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was rained out . . . The Yankees sent RHP Joe Harvey to Scranton after the game.

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