10:51am: Chapman underwent an MRI on Saturday that didn’t show any structural damage, per ESPN’s Marly Rivera. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman expects Chapman to miss about a month, reports Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News.
9:41am: The Yankees have placed closer Aroldis Chapman on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, with left shoulder rotator cuff inflammation, according to an announcement from the team. The club has recalled right-hander Chad Green from Triple-A to take Chapman’s roster spot.
While the severity of the flamethrowing Chapman’s injury isn’t known, it’s obviously troubling that he’s dealing with a shoulder issue just over a month into a five-year, $86MM contract. The ailment does perhaps explain Chapman’s recent struggles, though, as he surrendered a combined four earned runs on six hits and two walks in the two outings that preceded his placement on the DL. Those showings are almost solely to blame for Chapman’s relatively underwhelming ERA (3.55) and increased walk rate (4.26 per nine innings) in 12 1/3 frames his season. In his previous 12 appearances (11 1/3 innings), Chapman yielded just one earned run and walked four.
Although Chapman hasn’t quite been himself this year, further evidenced by the second-worst strikeout percentage (36.8, down from 40.5 last year) and second-lowest swinging-strike rate (14.6, compared to 18.6 in 2016) of his career, he’s nonetheless among New York’s most important players. Thanks in part to Chapman’s seven saves in eight chances, the Yankees enter Sunday with an AL East-leading 21-12 mark. They’ll now turn the ninth inning over to lights-out setup man Dellin Betances, who had difficulty as the Yankees’ closer down the stretch last season after they traded Chapman to the Cubs, while relying on the likes of Tyler Clippard, Adam Warren and Jonathan Holder to bridge the gap to Betances. Those four have been outstanding this year for the Yankees, who own the majors’ fourth-best bullpen ERA (2.50).