Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will be eligible to make his season debut Monday after serving a 30-game suspension (29 because of a rainout) for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. The league disciplined Chapman for firing eight shots from a gun into his garage wall after an argument with his girlfriend last October, but the 28-year-old is adamant that he did nothing wrong. “I didn’t do anything. People are thinking that it’s something serious; I have not put my hands on anyone, didn’t put anyone in danger,” he told Billy Witz of the New York Times. Chapman shrugged off the fact that his frightened girlfriend called 911 while hiding in the bushes, saying, “It was just an argument with your partner that everyone has. I’ve even argued with my mother. When you are not in agreement with someone, we Latin people are loud when we argue.” Chapman added that he believes Latino ballplayers are targets because of their wealth and their lack of familiarity with the customs in the United States, though he didn’t specify whether he thinks they’re targets of the league, the police or both. “It’s easier to hurt someone who is not from here than someone who is. People think we don’t know what the laws are and they try to hurt you. Many people want money. We have to take care of ourselves,” he said.
Here’s more from the American League:
- With the Angels lacking talent at the major league level and possessing baseball’s worst farm system, some pundits have begun weighing whether the team should trade the best player in the game, center fielder Mike Trout. Sports On Earth’s Brian Kenny is vehemently opposed to the Angels moving Trout, arguing that no player they could realistically get in return for the 24-year-old would come close to approaching his otherworldly production. Kenny cites Bill James’ theory that talent is not distributed evenly; instead, it’s to be thought of as a pyramid, and Trout – given both his output and durability – is at the very top of it.
- Astros right-hander Lance McCullers could finally be nearing his 2016 major league debut, which has been delayed because of a shoulder injury. The flame-throwing 22-year-old logged five innings (64 pitches) in a Triple-A rehab start Saturday and struck out seven, according to Angel Verdejo Jr. of the Houston Chronicle. That might end up as McCullers’ only start at that level if his body responds well in the coming days, per Verdejo. McCullers’ return will be a significant development for the Astros, whose rotation – like the team itself – has regressed from one of the league’s best last year to among its worst this season.
- CC Sabathia’s presence on the disabled list won’t preclude the Yankees from demoting right-hander Luis Severino to the minors if his struggles continue, writes Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media. “His development isn’t going to have much to do with CC’s injury,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild told Kuty. “I think what he does is what a lot of young pitchers would do and that’s try to power their way through it instead of pitching their way through it,” he continued. Severino has followed his strong 62 1/3-inning major league debut in 2015 with 25 2/3 frames of 6.31 ERA ball this season. The 22-year-old’s strikeout rate has plummeted from 8.09 per nine innings last season to 5.61, and his BABIP has risen 98 points from .265 to .363. Both of those factors have hurt Severino’s cause, though there are some positive signs: He’s walking far few hitters (1.75 BB/9 compared to a 3.18 mark in ’15) and continuing to generate ground balls over 50 percent of the time.