Aroldis Chapman was good to rejoin the Yankees a few hours before Tommy Kahnle discovered the tightness in the right forearm was due to a UCL injury that will require Tommy John surgery.
“He is probably headed for surgery,’’ Aaron Boone said of Kahnle, who wasn’t able to throw Wednesday in Baltimore and underwent an MRI exam Friday before visiting team physician Chris Ahmad on Friday. “It is just one of those where your heart goes out to Tommy knowing that it is a significant injury that has to get taken care of.’’
Kahnle emerged last year as a big piece of a very strong Yankees pen. He appeared in one game this season. Getting Chapman back will lessen the sting of losing Kahnle, but he will be missed.
“Tommy is an elite reliever in the league so some guys are going to have to step up,’’ Boone said.
As for Chapman he is back, but when he will come off the COVID-19 IL isn’t known.
“Chappy is back today, he has been cleared,’’ Boone said of the hard-throwing lefty closer who had to test negative twice for COVID-19 to rejoin the club. “Hopefully he will be able to come and play catch [Friday] and try and get an idea of where exactly he is at. We all know Chappy and how much of a workout freak and how well he takes care of himself. We were able to see that on Instagram while he was away.’’
According to Boone the chiseled 6-foot-5, 218-pound Chapman wasn’t leveled by the coronavirus.
“The good thing he was never really sick. He was able to maintain probably a level of physical conditioning that some people otherwise wouldn’t have been able to,’’ Boone said of the 32-year-old. “But we will get a better evaluation of where he is at when we see him.’’
Boone said Chapman wasn’t able to play catch with anyone while away from the team but did try to keep his pellet-throwing left arm in shape working with a contraption that was amazing — a sock-glove setup that allowed Chapman to keep his arm in shape in his apartment.
Zack Britton, a former All-Star closer for the Orioles, was 2-for-2 in save chances through the first four games replacing Chapman.
While the Yankees have missed Chapman, losing Kahnle is a big blow since he handled the sixth- and seventh-inning gig very well last year and was outstanding Sunday in Washington when he faced a bases-loaded, two-out situation with the Yankees clinging to a 3-2 lead in the eighth and struck out the left-handed hitting Eric Thames on a tantalizing changeup.
Having used Adam Ottavino in the fifth with rain coming Thursday night, Boone turned to Jonathan Loaisiga to start the sixth inning with the Yankees leading, 5-4. Loaisiga worked around two walks to start the inning without giving up a run and a perfect seventh. However, he surrendered a two-run homer to Pedro Severino that put the O’s up, 6-5. Aaron Judge’s three-run homer in the ninth bailed out Loaisiga.