The Yankees announced they’ve activated first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the COVID-19 injured list. He’s in tonight’s lineup against the archrival Red Sox, hitting second. Additionally, closer Aroldis Chapman is back from the 10-day IL. In corresponding moves, outfielder Jonathan Davis and reliever Nick Nelson were optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
To create space for Rizzo on the 40-man roster, New York activated outfielder Trey Amburgey from the 10-day IL and returned him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Because Amburgey was originally selected to the big league roster as a replacement for a player who had gone on the COVID-19 IL, he could be removed from the 40-man and sent back to the minors without being placed on waivers.
Rizzo returns ten days after testing positive for the coronavirus. For the first time, he’ll pair with Luke Voit, who was activated from his own IL stint at the time Rizzo landed on the shelf. It’s an abundance of offensive riches for the Yankees, who’ll have to also find playing time for Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton between the outfield, first base and designated hitter.
Chapman landed on the IL on August 7 with inflammation in his throwing elbow. While a bit of an ominous-sounding diagnosis, it turned out to only require a near-minimal stint. In his absence, Chad Green, Zack Britton and Jonathan Loáisiga picked up save opportunities, but that role will again fall to Chapman, manager Aaron Boone confirmed to reporters (via Erik Boland of Newsday). The hard-throwing southpaw rebounded from a dreadful few weeks in the middle of the season to post seven consecutive scoreless outings leading up to his IL stint.
The Yankees have almost completely bounced back from the spread of COVID-19 in the clubhouse over the past couple weeks. Reliever Clay Holmes is the only player remaining on the COVID IL for the red-hot Yankees, who have won twelve of their last fifteen to catch the Red Sox and A’s in the American League Wild Card race.