The Yankees are happy to get Aroldis Chapman back onto the field, but the injury news isn’t all positive for Aaron Boone’s bullpen.
Aroldis Chapman is poised to return to the Yankees’ active roster, but Aaron Boone did receive some negative injury news on Friday. His team will be without the services of Tommy Kahnle for the foreseeable future.
Boone referred to Kahnle’s forearm tightness as “a concern” ahead of his team’s weekend series against the arch-rival Boston Red Sox. Team officials had the right-hander undergo an MRI and he was slated to meet with the team’s doctor on Friday. Yankees officials will be nervously awaiting Kahnle’s diagnosis until a verdict on his health is rendered.
It’s unclear when Chapman might arrive in the Bronx and give his team’s bullpen a boost. He tested positive for COVID-19 just before the start of the regular season. Since then, the Cuban southpaw has been isolating in his Manhattan apartment. The fact that he built a makeshift workout room in his living room during his absence from the team could allow him to return to the field sooner than most observers expect.
When Chapman does get back into the fold, expect him to immediately reclaim his role as the team’s unquestioned closer. Zack Britton filled the role in his absence, but Boone prefers to use him as a more flexible weapon in late innings.
Kahnle’s absence will likely push Jonathan Loaisiga into a more significant workload in 2020. He originally arrived in the majors as a starter, but the franchise has been slowly transitioning him into a bullpen weapon during the offseason. The fact that he throws harder and shows more break on his offspeed pitches when in relief makes him an intriguing option for the Yankees moving forward.
Overall, the Yankees will be pleased to get Chapman back soon, but the news that Kahnle is likely going to miss time puts a damper on the day’s news for the AL East leaders.