The man known as Cuban Missile is cleared to launch triple-digit fastballs for the New York Yankees in the 2019 ALCS.
New York Yankees fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief. The team has officially avoided a Cuban Missile-less crisis.
Bombers closer Aroldis Chapman found himself on the wrong end of some bubbly while celebrating the team’s ALDS victory on Monday. However, the southpaw immediately brushed off the apparent injury to his pitching hand:
“I got hit with a bottle, but it’s fine.”He told NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra.
On Wednesday, Yanks manager Aaron Boone confirmed Chapman’s self-assessment:
“Chapman is fine,” the second-year skipper told reporters, including the New York Post’s George A. King III.
This isn’t the first time a Yankees player has fallen victim to an expression of joy. Dellin Betances’s 2019 ended when he tore his Achilles jumping off the mound to celebrate a strikeout. And who can forget Aaron Judge chipping a tooth on Clint Frazier’s helmet after a walk-off homer in 2017?
Luckily, Chapman remains intact for the time being.
Aroldis Chapman, Filthy 82mph Slider (w/ Tail). ? pic.twitter.com/a50FW0v7eG
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 8, 2019
Boone also delivered good news about Chapman’s setup man, Zack Britton, who also experienced an injury scare on Monday.
“(Britton) said he’s good to go. If he had to pitch today, he would be good to go,’’ the manager told King. “Felt even better today. It doesn’t seem like something he’s overly concerned about. He’ll throw [Thursday]. Expect [Britton] to be a full go with no issues.’’
Combined, Britton and Chapman pitched 5 innings of one-run ball during the ALDS. The pair of bullpen aces are essential to the Bombers’ potential ALCS success against the Houston Astros.
The New York pen nailed down 13.1 of the 27 innings in the ALDS. That usage rate could increase in the next round, when the Yankees face a starting rotation full of intimidating aces.
Resulting nail biters could now be slightly less stressful for Yankees fans, who can count on seeing New York’s finest late-inning arms when the game is on the line.