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PHILADELPHIA — Aroldis Chapman is at least a week away from rejoining the Yankees. The closer was scheduled to throw a bullpen on Wednesday and live hitters were not yet on his radar.
“I don’t expect (him to be pitching in a big league game) any time soon, but he is in a good spot and we’ll monitor how each (bullpen) goes, how his live BPs go and make the smart decision about when to bring him back. We will not rush him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
The Yankees have a solid, experienced closer to use with Chapman out. Zack Britton has four saves in four appearances in his absence. Chapman has yet to play a regular-season game after testing positive for COVID-19 last month. When that test result was announced on July 11, Chapman was asymptomatic.
A six-time All-Star, Chapman posted a 2.21 ERA and 37 saves in 60 appearances last season, He was the back-end of a bullpen built to shut down games after the fifth inning.
In past seasons, the Yankees have been hit hard by injuries that tested their depth. So they may be uniquely prepared for the challenges of navigating a season that will most likely be impacted by the coronavirus again.
Britton is an established, elite closer who has 145 career saves. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 2016, the year he saved 63 games for the Orioles.
Luis Cessa, who began the rebooted spring training on the COVID-19 list after testing positive back at his home in Arizona, was activated before Wednesday’s game. The right-hander pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.
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