TAMPA, Fla. — Aroldis Chapman pitched extensively during the Cubs’ postseason, more often and longer than his arm is accustomed to, but the closer doesn’t feel a need to change his routine with the Yankees in spring training.
“I worked really hard in the offseason, worked on my body a lot, and I feel good. I feel ready,” Chapman said through a translator Wednesday at Steinbrenner Field. “I spoke to [pitching coach] Larry [Rothschild] about maybe starting the bullpen [session] a couple of days later, but that’s about it. Regular spring training for me.”
Chapman threw 15 2⁄3 innings in 13 postseason appearances, getting key outs as the Cubs closed out tight games and series against the Giants, Dodgers and Indians. The Yankees used the overpowering lefthander for more than three outs only twice last year, but the Cubs relied on him for larger roles, pitching four outs or more in five of his last six outings. In a tight World Series Game 5 against Cleveland, Chapman threw 42 pitches to 10 batters in 2 2⁄3 innings. He hadn’t thrown that many pitches in a game since 2015 with the Reds.
In the past year, Chapman saw both ends of the baseball spectrum, from a Yankees organization that has won 27 championships to a Cubs team that won for the first time since 1908.
Speaking of his short time in Chicago, Chapman said: “I definitely enjoyed it to the maximum. Not only me, but my family and my friends. They were part of it, too. To be part of a team that won the World Series, and the team hadn’t won a World Series in 108 years, that was fantastic. It’s definitely an experience I will never forget.”
Given his choice of teams in free agency, Chapman came back to New York, saying his experience in a half-season made it his preference.
“As a whole, the organization, I like the way things are done here,” he said. “The teammates I have, last year was my first year here and I had a really good experience here with this team . . . [Chicago] was a chapter in my career that turned over, and I look toward the future now.”
Chapman was asked if he saw parallels between these Yankees, who have received an infusion of promising young talent, and the Cubs, who got key contributions from unproven players last season.
“I don’t want to make comparisons, but there’s a lot of young guys here with a lot of talent,” he said, “and each one of us is going to give their best.”