Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman returns from injured list, walks all three batters faced

Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman last pitched in the majors on May 22. He was placed on the injured list due to an issue with his Achilles and returned in time for the weekend series against the Guardians in Cleveland. 

Saturday, in the first game of a doubleheader, manager Aaron Boone attempted to give Chapman a soft landing on his return. The Yankees had a 10-2 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh and Chapman was inserted. 

He would face three batters. He would walk three batters. He threw 19 pitches without recording an out and only seven of those went for strikes. He appeared to be grimacing and possibly favoring his back toward the end of the outing, but it’s tough to tell if it was regarding a possible injury or just generally feeling uncomfortable on the mound given that he couldn’t throw strikes. 

Control has been an issue all season for Chapman. He has now issued 13 walks in 14 innings pitched. Two of the three runners he put on base Saturday came around to score, so he has a 5.14 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. He actually has nine saves in nine chances, though he has been bailed out before and in general shouldn’t be counted on in high-leverage situations until he gets his control issues ironed out. 

Clay Holmes has been the closer with Chapman out and he’ll remain their most important reliever with Michael King a close second. Wandy Peralta has also been important. A healthy and right Chapman would give them quite the arsenal, but that’s no sure thing at this point. He’s 34 years old and hasn’t proven himself reliable this season. 

The Yankees entered Saturday with the best record in baseball by a decent margin. 

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