Sports

Aroldis Chapman’s Yankees role will be based on performance

MILWAUKEE — Aroldis Chapman rejoined the Yankees on Friday after being sidelined with a left leg infection caused by a new tattoo.

His return added another veteran presence to the bullpen, but also added a question, since Chapman has been wildly inconsistent this season, both with his delivery and results.

Manager Aaron Boone said Chapman’s role will be determined in some ways by how he performs.

“Hopefully he comes in and throws the ball well,’’ Boone said before the Yankees lost to the Brewers, 7-6, at American Family Field. “I thought he looked good in his last rehab outing. He’s got to hit his spots. Hopefully it’s there. We’ll see.”

If Chapman pitches as he did in the first month of the season, when he was unscored upon, or during the nine-appearance stretch from late July to mid-August, he’ll likely be trusted in some late-game situations.

But there have been too many other stretches over the course of each of the last two seasons for the Yankees just to hand Chapman a vital spot at the back end of the pen right away.

Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman
Corey Sipkin

Whether the Yankees land on a regular closer the rest of the way is still to be determined, as well, since Clay Holmes clearly hasn’t won it back yet, either.

In his last six games before Friday, Holmes allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits, a walk and hit by pitch in 7 ¹/₃ innings, striking out seven.

He was off again Friday, giving up the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth after a leadoff double and a pair of walks led to Garrett Mitchell’s game-winning single.

“I feel like the stuff is there,’’ Holmes said.

Dominant with his sinker throughout the first half, Holmes has also dealt with a loss of control, which was attributed somewhat to the back issues that landed him on the injured list last month.

The analytically driven Holmes remains locked in on what the advanced metrics say about his pitches and has been encouraged lately.

“As long as I’m right, I’ll take whatever my role is,’’ Holmes said. “I just want to make sure everything is lined up.”

The Yankees’ bullpen has survived the loss of key right-handers Michael King and Chad Green to elbow injuries. Zack Britton made another rehab appearance with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and gave up a hit and a walk in a third of an inning.

They expect to get Scott Effross, acquired from the Cubs at the trade deadline, back soon from a shoulder strain.

Effross threw live batting practice prior to the game Friday and said everything felt good. He’ll likely begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday.

The development of some of the Yankees’ young relievers, including Ron Marinaccio, has helped offset the loss of some of the more experienced pitchers, but the Yankees picked up Effross with the expectation he would play an important role in the back of the pen.

To make room for Chapman on the roster, right-hander Ryan Weber was designated for assignment again.

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