The New York Yankees are gearing up to get a few relief arms back in the coming weeks. Domingo German experienced a successful rehab assignment on Wednesday, pitching three scoreless innings with single-A Tampa.
However, future Hall of Fame closer Aroldis Chapman is also preparing to start a rehab assignment over the weekend with Somerset.
Chapman’s role is set to change significantly upon his return, especially with Clay Holmes dominating. Holmes currently features a 0.53 ERA this season over 33.2 innings pitched. He hasn’t given up a single home run and features a 92.6% left on base rate and 83.1% ground ball rate, two career highs by a significant margin.
Chapman may be one of the team’s best historical closers, but he understands what is most suitable for the team, stating he wouldn’t fight for the closer role.
“I am here, trying to recover, come back, be well, healthy, and help the team in any way, in any role,” Chapman said. “[Holmes] is doing an excellent job right now and I think he deserves the role that he has.”
Aroldis stated that he’s beyond the point in his career of fighting for a job. He will take any role the Yankees throw his way.
“I’m past that point in my career in which I would fight for a role, for the closer role,” Chapman said through an interpreter.
“I’ve already gone through that,” Chapman said of when he first became a closer with the Reds in 2012. “When I got to the major leagues, they gave me the opportunity to close and I took advantage of the opportunity. Pretty much the same thing is happening to [Holmes]. If he has that role, it is because he is doing well.”
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Chapman needs to get back to the April version of himself:
Prior to being placed on the ten-day injured list with Achilles tendinitis, Chapman had suffered a problematic May. Over 5.2 innings pitched, Chapman gave up 11 hits, six earned runs, four walks, and a 9.53 ERA. For context, he only gave up two hits and didn’t give up a single run to start April over 8.1 innings. Clearly, the tendinitis was significantly hampering his pitching motion, given his aggressive style.
Chapman could be used in the 8th inning as a set-up man for Holmes. There’s also a possibility Boone begins to use him situationally against left-handed hitters in high-leverage situations. Having an abundance of quality in the bullpen is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to mitigating fatigue.