Aaron Judge and Aroldis Chapman are both on pace to return to the New York Yankees sooner rather than later.
Chapman has missed the entire season up to this point for COVID-related reasons. Meanwhile, Judge’s scorching hot start to the season was halted by a calf strain and a subsequent trip to the injured list.
In addition to Chapman and Judge, the Yankees have dealt with injuries to DJ LeMahieu, Tommy Kahnle, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luis Severino, among others. Despite the injuries, the Bronx Bombers continue to charge forward and sit in first place in the American League East with a 14-6 record.
Aaron Judge Feels 100%
Anytime Aaron Judge goes to the IL, Yankees fans cringe and shudder at the thought of another injury-jilted season for the superstar. However, this IL stint might not be as bad as those of the past.
Judge told reporters on Sunday that he “feels 100%” already and would feel comfortable playing as soon as Monday. “I think they’re just kind of looking out for me so it doesn’t get worse because calves may start mild, but if you push on, they may turn into Grade 1 or Grade 2,” Judge said via Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
The right fielder began the season on an MVP-type pace. He can return to the field on Saturday when the Yankees take on the Mets at Citi Field where he’ll look to pick up where he left off.
Entering Sunday, Judge was still leading the American League in home runs (9), slugging percentage (.758), and OPS (1.101).
Aroldis Chapman Will Re-Join Team On Monday
Chapman’s slow start to the 2020 season has come at little cost to the Yankees, but he’ll add even more depth to one of the best bullpen’s in baseball. Chapman is expected to re-join the team on Monday after spending some time at the team’s alternate site in Scranton, PA.
Aroldis Chapman is expected to rejoin the Yankees tomorrow, Aaron Boone says.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) August 16, 2020
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman throws 25 pitches in sim game at Alternate Site at PNC Field. Faced eight batters. Struck out two and walked one. Didn’t appear to give up any hits (I say that because, from up here, you can’t see where the balls land). pic.twitter.com/vRw3w0W3GK
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) August 11, 2020
Chapman’s absence hasn’t been felt much by the Yankees up to this point. New York is out to a 14-6 start and the bullpen is posting a 3.69 ERA without him. Although Chapman is the undisputed closer, Zack Britton’s experience in the role has served the team well. Britton is sporting a 1.23 ERA in eight appearances. Not to mention, he’s leading all of baseball with seven saves.
It’s tough to take a reliever out of that role when he’s pitching that well, but Britton has shown that he’s just as dangerous as a setup man for Chapman. The New York bullpen is at its best when Chapman is locking down the ninth and Britton is freed up for high-leverage situations in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.
The Yankees might not be completely healthy, but when have they ever been over the last few seasons? The good news is that reinforcements are on the way.