Aroldis Chapman's Suspension Appeal Delayed Until Next Year

Max Goodman

As the Yankees get set for the final week of the regular season, jockeying for home field advantage in the postseason, they will do so with their closer available at the back end of the bullpen.

Aroldis Chapman's appeal against his three-game suspension—for throwing at the head of Tampa Bay's Mike Brosseau on Sept. 1—has been delayed until next year, per MLB Network's Jon Heyman.

The decision to push the hearing back until 2021 is "due to an issue involving availability of witnesses," according to Heyman. 

Over the weekend, Yankees' manager Aaron Boone alluded to the verdict on Chapman's appeal being pushed back until after this season. Now, while reports align with that conclusion, the skipper is waiting until confirmation from the league.

"I think it sounds like there is a chance that it will go in next year but then again I haven't been told anything officially," he explained. "So, I'm treating it as he's with us and if something comes up between now and then we'll adjust but I'm planning on him being with us."

Boone said he has an idea as to the specifics of why the hearing has been postponed, but due to part of it stemming from speculation, he elected not to share.

Chapman's 100.5 mph fastball that whizzed by Brosseau's head, causing benches to clear moments later, was deemed intention by Major League Baseball. Following the announcement of the three-game ban, Chapman assured that he did not throw that far up and in on purpose.

"If you look at my career, you look at the years that I have played in this league, I've never had any issues or ever been in a situation where I've hit anybody on purpose," Chapman said through the Yankees' interpreter when addressing his suspension for the first time. "Of course there were pitches that are close to hitters, but there was never any intention to hit anybody."

At the time, Chapman cited his inability to command his fastball as the source for the errant heater. Considering bad blood has been boiling between the Yankees and Rays, however, Tampa Bay had reason to believe that Chapman was acting with intent. 

READ: Baseball's Next Best Rivalry: Yankees Take Notice of 'Talented' Rays as Bad Blood Brews

One game after the incident with the Rays, Chapman blew his second save of the season to the Mets. Since then, over his last six appearances, the left-hander has a 0.00 ERA with 13 strikeouts and just one hit in 5 2.3 innings pitched.

Considering Chapman's 2020 season began with a case of COVID-19, forcing him to miss the season's first month and much of Summer Camp, Boone said he feels that his closer is in a "good place."

"I feel like he's been throwing the ball well," he said. "Really pleased with where he's at at this point in the season and his build up and look forward to him playing a huge role for us. Hopefully, this final week and on into October."

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