TAMPA, Fla. — Closer Aroldis Chapman rejoined the New York Yankees after missing two days of spring training this week while tending to a family matter.
In his third mound session for his new team, Chapman threw 35 pitches Friday. He was away Thursday and also had an excused absence on Monday.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said depending on how Chapman feels Saturday, the hard-throwing lefty could soon be ready to toss batting practice. The Yankees acquired Chapman from Cincinnati in the off-season to join a bullpen that already included Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.
Chapman is under investigation by Major League Baseball under the sport’s new domestic violence policy for an incident at his house in Florida in October involving his girlfriend. Chapman is alleged to have fired a gun during the encounter.
Prosecutors declined to file charges. Chapman said he would appeal any suspension to baseball’s arbitrator.
Masahiro Tanaka, who underwent a procedure in October to remove a bone spur on his throwing elbow, will have his fifth bullpen session in the next couple days. Rothschild said the right-hander is close to throwing batting practice and that "so far everything is good."
Tanaka will also pitch in a simulated game before making his first spring training start. Barring a setback, the Yankees are hopeful Tanaka will be ready for the start of the regular season.
Michael Pineda (25 pitches) and Luis Severino (30 pitches) both threw batting practice for the first time. CC Sabathia made 32 pitches off a bullpen mound in his third spring training session.
Outfield prospect Aaron Judge hit several long homers in batting practice, including one that cleared the tall scoreboard in left centre at Steinbrenner Field.
"I heard them," designated hitter Alex Rodriguez said. "Everyone has been talking about them. It’s exciting to see a kid like that hit a ball over the scoreboard. That’s pretty special."
Judge didn’t watch the baseballs leave the park, but said with a smile that the "wind was blowing out."
In fact, the wind was blowing in.
"That’s impressive," manager Joe Girardi said. "There’s not a lot of guys that can do that."
Pitchers normally are ahead of hitters early in spring training and Friday was no different as Judge had a swinging strike and a foul in five pitches of live batting practice against Pineda.
3B Chase Headley, who had a career-high 23 errors last season, went through an extensive infield session on a back field where he focused on his footwork while throwing the ball. … Rodriguez, who made the shift from short to third after joining the Yankees, will be working with 2B Starlin Castro on playing third. The Yankees plan to look at Castro and Rob Refsnyder as potential backups at the position.