Closer Aroldis Chapman is approved for a return to the field just in the nick of time for the New York Yankees.
Chapman has been out since July 11, when he tested positive for COVID-19.
Luckily, he was asymptomatic and stayed fit in a home gym during his quarantine.
“I had an excellent week working at home, maintaining my work rhythm,” Chapman said in a recent Instagram post. “Although I cannot leave the house, I’m trying to stay in shape.”
The 32-year-old’s workout routine gave Bombers manager Aaron Boone hope he’ll have his closer game-ready in no time.
“…[Chapman] was able to maintain probably a level of physical conditioning that other people may not have been able to,” Boone told Rivera. “I’m hopeful he’s a little ahead of the game from where some other people might be.”
New York needs Chapman now more than ever. The team revealed Friday that stud setup man Tommy Kahnle appears headed toward Tommy John surgery. The procedure would end his 2020 season.
Chapman saved 37 games for the Yankees in 2019, pitching to a 2.21 ERA and striking out 85 batters in 57 innings (13.4 SO/9). The flame-throwing southpaw earned his sixth MLB All-Star berth in only 10 seasons of work.
During the Cuban Missile’s absence, Zack Britton has taken over the save opportunities.
Two other Yankees have tested positive for COVID-19 so far this condensed season. Both infielder DJ LeMahieu and long-reliever Luis Cessa contracted the virus in the first week of July.
LeMahieu has since returned. Cessa is still working his way back, a process that included a 24-pitch sim game on Sunday.