Aroldis Chapman’s difficulties are not behind him.
And the struggling closer may now be dealing with an injury to boot.
Chapman made it another white-knuckler Tuesday night in the Yankees 5-4 victory over the Mets, his third straight poor outing.
And on the final out Tuesday night at the Stadium, Chapman, who allowed a two-run homer to Amed Rosario earlier in the inning to make it a one-run game, grimaced as he left the mound to cover first on Juan Lagares’ grounder.
“When I reacted, [my right hamstring] tightened up a little bit, but it’s nothing to worry about,” Chapman said. “I feel good.”
After the game Joe Girardi said he wasn’t certain if Chapman will have tests on the hamstring, but that would seem likely.
“I think you’re always worried when there’s a hamstring issue,” Girardi said. “It’s something we’ll probably have a much better idea tomorrow on.”
He added later: “If it’s his landing leg you worry, if it’s his push-off leg you worry because you worry about him overcompensating somewhere else and hurting his arm.”
Chapman, whose last outing, Sunday night against the Red Sox, resulted in a blown save, allowed Rosario’s second career homer on what Girardi called “a bad slider,” which allowed the Mets to pull within 5-4.
Chapman, who threw mostly sliders in the 23-pitch inning because he didn’t have a good feel for his fastball, retired the next two batters to record his 16th save.
But he did nothing to alleviate concerns about himself.
The 29-year-old came into the night 4-2 with a 3.48 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 33 2⁄3 innings and 15 saves in 19 chances, but in his previous two outings he allowed three runs, walked four and hit a batter in 2 1⁄3 innings.
“It has been a difficult year for me,” Chapman said through his translator. “I’m going through a rough patch here but you have to keep fighting and trying to go out there and do your job.”
After blowing the save Sunday, Girardi said Chapman was secure in the closer role and mostly reiterated that Tuesday, though not quite as resolutely when asked about considering a change.
“I rethink things, everything every day,” Girardi said, speaking generally of the team. “I haven’t really thought about it.”
Still, it didn’t sound as if Chapman, should he stay off the DL, would be relegated to another role immediately.
“I still really believe in him,” Girardi said. “There’s other guys in that bullpen that have had tough times this year and we didn’t abandon them. If you start doing that every time a player goes through a tough time and you abandon them, it can be risky.”
Chapman has never been anything but a closer in his big-league career but said he’s willing to pitch in any inning.
“I’m here to pitch,” Chapman said. “My job is to be ready to pitch every day. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer position, I’m always going to be ready and willing to pitch here.”