Yankees activate closer Chapman after COVID-19 bout

MLB

NEW YORK (AP)The Yankees activated All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman from the injured list after he recovered from COVID-19.

The move came before Monday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Chapman tested positive for the coronavirus during preseason camp on July 11 and has been away from the club since. The left-hander experienced only mild symptoms and constructed a weight room in his Manhattan apartment to stay in shape while quarantined.

The 32-year-old Chapman was cleared to resume activity July 31 and has been working out at the team’s alternate site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Chapman had a 2.21 ERA and 37 saves in 60 appearances last season. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he’ll be conservative with Chapman’s workload early on, but he anticipates using his closer in high-leverage situations immediately.

”Save situation, he’ll be in there tonight,” Boone said.

AL batting leader DJ LeMahieu is expected to miss two to three weeks after going on the injured list Sunday with a sprained left thumb.

Two doctors have evaluated imaging of LeMahieu’s thumb and agree there is a sprain but no fracture, and the Yankees also plan to consult the hand specialist who treated LeMahieu when he had a similar injury in 2018 while with Colorado. LeMahieu broke a small bone in his thumb that year and missed about 2 1/2 weeks.

”Feel petty good about where it’s at right now,” Boone said about his leadoff man, who is batting .411.

Injured outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton both worked out at Yankee Stadium on Monday, and Judge planned to resume baseball activities. Judge was placed on the injured list last week with a right calf strain, and Stanton is recovering from a strained left hamstring.

Judge pleaded with the Yankees not to go on the injured list and believes he could already be back playing, but New York is being cautious. He’s eligible to be activated Saturday.

Stanton hasn’t played since Aug. 8. The oft-injured slugger was slimmed down and moving better this season before the injury, and he said Monday that made it all the more frustrating to end up on the IL yet again.

Stanton has been placed on the IL/DL in six of his nine pro seasons and appeared in just 18 games in 2019.

”Words can’t really describe the disappointment I’ve had over this,” he said Monday. He also acknowledged resentment held by some Yankees fans, saying that if he were in their shoes, ”I would be disappointed. I am disappointed.”

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