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Subway Series: Joe Girardi says Aroldis Chapman still is Yankees' closer

New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman sits

New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman sits in the dugout after leaving the baseball game during the 10th inning against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in New York. Photo Credit: AP / Frank Franklin II

Joe Girardi stayed away from Aroldis Chapman in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Mets on Monday night because the closer had appeared in two of the club’s previous three games.

But that’s the only reason.

Girardi made it clear, as he did Sunday after Chapman blew the save in a 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Red Sox, that he plans to make no changes in the back end of his bullpen. “He’s our closer,” he said. “I have a ton of belief in him.”

Chapman is 4-2 with a 3.48 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 33 2⁄3 innings and 15 saves in 19 chances. In appearances Friday and Sunday, he allowed three runs, walked four and hit a batter in 2 1⁄3 innings. But in his previous 13 games before Friday, he had a 1.42 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 12 2⁄3 innings.

“You look at all the guys in the bullpen in the last month, six weeks, have you seen only one guy struggle?” Girardi said. “They’ve all had their struggles at some point . . . We have a lot of quality arms down there. They’re not going to be perfect.”

CC lets it go

CC Sabathia doesn’t expect his stay on the DL to last any longer than the requisite 10 days. Sabathia, who left his start last Tuesday in Toronto because of pain in his right knee, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Monday. “I was really cutting it loose at the end,” he said. “Very encouraged.”

It was a far cry from last Tuesday, when thoughts of retirement swirled through his head. But Sabathia felt much better the next day and has progressed from there, with Monday the most significant step.

“I felt good,’’ he said, “but you never know until you get off that mound.”

Holliday’s work

Matt Holliday (left lumbar strain) reported no issues after running and hitting before Monday night’s game, but he still had no timetable for a return. Said Holliday, “Backs sometimes can be tricky.”

New York Sports