BALTIMORE — Aroldis Chapman seems to be taking a step forward and then a back.
The former Yankees close played a scoreless innings with two strikeouts against the Astros on Thursday, encouraged by manager Aaron Boone. On Friday night, Chapman came in and released a three-run homer and had to be dismissed one after the other.
“He’s struggling right now. I mean, the equipment is all there,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Saturday before the game against the Orioles at Camden Yards. “I was encouraged by the Houston game and that’s about it. How went and attacked and there were some big outs for us in that game. And then clearly, the follow-up on the results back-to-back yesterday was not there. So he will keep getting his chances. Obviously, we have to do that online. He certainly has all the potential in the world.”
Saturday was the first time the 34-year-old Chapman had gone back-to-back since coming off the injured list. He missed about six weeks with an Achilles/ankle problem, but much of that time was spent trying to get him back to his normal form.
In 25 games this season, Chapman has the highest hard hit% (41.8) and walk% (17.5) of his career. His hit rate and home run rate are among the highest in his career, and he has very few strikeouts. He dismissed 24.7% of the batsmen he faced, the lowest level in his career.
The Yankees have already grown closer to Chapman, giving that role to Clay Holmes. However, getting him into a position of high leverage right now is a gamble. With limited roster spots and injuries affecting Yankees pitching, it’s a tough spot for Chapman to manage his use.
“I mean, the bottom line is that we have to get him there. I think the encouraging part is we’re seeing physical things that would suggest you can get there,” Boone said. “Now it’s time to get him there. And obviously, I think his confidence has been affected a little bit. He’s throwing the ball well and last night he came out throwing the ball really well, but in the end, he struggled a bit there at the end. So we have to strengthen him with confidence. But I’m at least encouraged by what we’re seeing. ,
Chapman’s velocity has been inconsistent this season, but his fastball hit 101 mph Friday night.
It’s been almost nine years since Shane Greene wore a Yankees uniform. The veteran right-handed reliever was back on Saturday, with Clark Schmidt being called up to strengthen the Yankees bullpen after losing Michael King for the season.
The 33-year-old veteran righthander Green entered the big leagues with the Yankees in 2014. He spent the bulk of his nine-year MLB career with the Tigers and Braves. In case of a situation like this, the Yankees signed him to a minor league deal earlier this year. In 22 games with Triple-A Scranton, Green led 1–1 with a 3.86 ERA in 15 appearances. He scored 31 runs in 28.2 innings, in which he made three saves.
“He has done a good job there. He has been kind of on that board in the last handful of call-ups. His name keeps coming up,” Boone said.
Green was dealt with the Tigers in December 2014, with Domingo Leyba and Robbie Ray being sent to the Diamondbacks and Didi Gregorius to the Yankees.
He returns the more experienced and better pitcher, even if the stuff is not like lightning.
“Okay, I don’t throw 97 (mph) anymore, but I have a change that’s some time,” Green said. “I’ve never really made a change before. And I would say I have a little too much confidence in everything. Like I said, when I was younger. I really didn’t know what I was doing. Always told me Used to be that I had the stuff, but I still didn’t know how to pitch. Now I will say that I think I know a little bit more how to.”
Jose Trevino knew immediately that something was wrong. When he leaned behind the plate, the right-hander’s box was a few inches away. He told home plate umpire Marty Foster who agreed and called in crew chief Dan Isogna to check it out. Foster eventually erased the lines so hitters could be set up where needed.
While Aaron Boone and Isogna said it was a first for them, Trevino laughed and said he had seen it several times in the minors.
Isogna called on Orioles chief of ground crew Nicole Sherry on Friday night to make sure there would be no problems for Saturday’s game.