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Aroldis Chapman’s Assignments Will Vary After Rejoining Yankees

The longtime closer returned from the injured list on Friday.

Aroldis Chapman will be given all kinds of assignments now that he is off the injured list.

The southpaw was activated on Friday after being held out with left Achilles tendinitis since May 24. Fellow reliever Miguel Castro was placed on the paternity list to make space for the 34-year-old Chapman.

The Yankees’ longtime closer – who is third among active relievers with 315 saves – will now pitch in a variety of situations after Clay Holmes established himself as a dominant finisher in Chapman’s absence. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he expects Chapman to pitch in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Sometimes Chapman will throw in high-leverage situations. Sometimes, he won’t.

“I want to get him in a really good place to where he’s pitching somewhat regularly,” Boone said Friday, per’s Bryan Hoch. “I just want to get him in situations where he’s going out there with the best opportunity to be successful and hopefully get in that good rhythm where he’s pounding the strike zone. If we can do that, we’ll be in a good spot.”

Boone and Chapman recently discussed the plan for the pitcher moving forward. Chapman, an impending free agent, has repeatedly said that he’s open to pitching whenever he’s needed.

Chapman has not blown a save in nine tries this season, but he struggled while pitching through his Achilles issue before landing on the I.L. He allowed at least one run in his last five appearances, sparking debate over his closer status before he was even sidelined.

Holmes, meanwhile, has been sensational all season, taking a 0.49 ERA over 36.2 innings into Saturday’s double-header in Cleveland. The righty has 14 saves in 15 tries.

In the Yankees’ perfect world, Chapman will return to being a trusted late-inning reliever capable of spelling Holmes when needed or even sharing ninth-inning duties down the road. After Chapman threw three scoreless minor league rehab outings, there’s reason for New York to be encouraged.

For now, however, the Yankees can stick with a system that worked flawlessly when Chapman was out.


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