Aroldis Chapman will make another rehab appearance on Tuesday, throwing with Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre this time. It will be his third minor league appearance and likely his last. But, what position will he be returning to?
“He’ll throw one more and be activated after that,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Monday night’s series-opener against the A’s at the Stadium.
The Yankees’ former closer was on the injured list with an Achilles issue, which Boone admitted “was not holding him back,” weeks ago. The Bombers have used this time for him to work out his delivery and get back on track.
In the meantime, Clay Holmes has taken his closing job — and it will likely stay that way in the new definition of “closer. Like he did before Chapman was injured, Boone will use Holmes in the highest leverage spots, against the toughest parts of the lineup in the eighth or ninth innings.
“Clay’s certainly earned that closer role,” Boone said. “I don’t know if we’ve done it since (Chapman) has been down but there’s been many nights where he could have been in there in the eighth inning just based on the matchups now and I would have closed with Wandy (Peralta) or whoever was available. So those things have been in play already and certainly with Chappie coming back, the biggest thing I want is to get Chapman in a good place delivery wise and throwing the ball like he’s capable of. And if we get that. then we got another back-end monster.”
Holmes had a franchise-record 29-appearance, 31-inning scoreless streak and has converted 12 of 13 save opportunities.
Chapman has thrown two scoreless innings so far in his rehab.
“He actually threw eight pitches, his first outing and then 11 yesterday. And he was good,” Boone said. “I talked to him a little bit in there briefly. Feels good. It feels fine, but I feel like it’s best to get one more.”
Isaiah Kiner-Falefa has a bad bruise. The Yankees shortstop was out of the lineup for Monday night. Kiner-Falefa suffered a finger injury on a bunt attempt in the Yankees extra-inning win over the Astros on Sunday.
“He’s good, it’s mostly that nail,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Essentially like a bruised nail, but he threw yesterday a little bit and even (threw) today.
“It’s kind of a day to day thing but I think he’s fine “
Kiner-Falefa said he had an X-Ray on the right index finger Monday afternoon and there was no structural damage and he felt like he could be available off the bench if needed.
The 27-year old missed three games last week with a hamstring issue. He is hitting .266/.320/.315 with a .635 OPS. He has 18 RBI, but has not yet hit a home run.
The Yankees were a little short on Monday with Gleyber Torres also out of the lineup. Torres was dealing with a rolled ankle and a right-wrist inflammation which forced him to get a cortisone shot on Monday. Marwin Gonzalez played shortstop Monday night.
J.P. Sears will start Tuesday night’s game against the A’s, Boone announced. The lefthander will be used to give the Yankees starting rotation a break during a tough stretch of 20 straight games without a day off. That means the rotation will just push back a day and Jameson Taillon will finish off the A’s series on Wednesday.
“Everyone will be in line. That next turn through Monday,” Boone said, referring to the July 4th scheduled off day. “We might juggle a little bit here over the next couple of weeks at some point. I was actually just going through with (pitching coach Matt) Blake. But for this time through, yeah. So that lines up for Sears tomorrow. (Jameson Taillon) Wednesday, (Louis Severino) in Houston. And then Gerrit (Cole) for the first one in Cleveland.”
In his first MLB start May 25 against the Orioles, Sears struck out five over five scoreless innings.
RIZZO TO RETURN
Anthony Rizzo expects to be in the lineup on Tuesday. The Yankees first baseman was plunked on the elbow by a 96-mile-per-hour fastball in the Yankees’ six-run, seventh-inning rally of the Yankees 9-5 win over the A’s and left the game in the eighth.
“The whole arm went dead there for a second,” Rizzo said, “but I think when we’d just taken the four-run lead there, so it just meant going up to hit, I would have been fine to hit, but getting on it right away definitely helped.”
Rizzo, who hit his 20th home run of the season in the first inning, said he “should be” able to play on Tuesday.
He snapped an 0-for-19 stretch with the homer and it was his fifth in his last 12 games. He has hit at least 20 homers for the ninth time in his career. Rizzo is the only active major leaguer who has nine 20-plus homer seasons in that span. Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz are the only two active players that have eight such seasons as of Monday.