HOUSTON – Aroldis Chapman is set to be activated from the injured list Friday in Cleveland, just before the Yankees start a three-game series there against the Guardians.
And, no, as common sense very much dictated, the lefthander is not going to be simply thrust back into the closer’s role.
“We’ll pick spots to get him in, try and get him in spots where he can be successful,” Aaron Boone said before Thursday night’s game against the Astros.
Before landing on the IL May 24 with left Achilles tendinitis, Chapman was 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 17 appearances. Though 9-for-9 in save chances, Chapman had been scored on in five straight appearances before the IL stint.
Clay Holmes and his put-away-sinker, of course, have been revelations this season. Going into Thursday, Holmes was 14-for-15 in saves, posting a 0.49 ERA in 35 games and at one point going a club-record 29 straight appearances without allowing a run.
And so while it would be foolhardy to declare no one but Holmes will be closing games regularly for the Yankees the rest of the season – his performance may well ebb and flow at some point, for example – it is clear Chapman won’t be reclaiming the role he lost to Holmes anytime soon.
“It could be anywhere from a high-leverage situation, to mid-leverage to a low-leverage, just to get him in and getting him going and hopefully getting him in rhythm,” Boone said of how he intends to use Chapman. “I’m not going to be tied to anything, especially initially.”