NEW YORK -- The Yankees are as close to complete as they will be for the remainder of the season, with closer Albertin Chapman having been activated from the 10-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's game against the Red Sox.Chapman had been on the DL since Aug. 22 with left
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are as close to complete as they will be for the remainder of the season, with closer Albertin Chapman having been activated from the 10-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's game against the Red Sox.
Chapman had been on the DL since Aug. 22 with left knee tendinitis. His return to action follows that of star slugger Aaron Judge, who was cleared to play on Tuesday and went hitless in the Yankees' 3-2 victory over Boston at Yankee Stadium. No other players on the team's DL are expected to return this season.
"We get an elite closer back who's had a great year for us," manager Aaron Boone said. "I think he's done really good in his comeback and has kind of passed all the checkmarks and whatnot. I'm just excited to add him to obviously what we think is a really good bullpen. It just lengthens our 'pen and adds to our ability to what we believe is shorten the game."
In Chapman's absence, four different Yankees recorded saves, with each saving at least two games: Dellin Betances (three), Zach Britton (two), Luis Cessa (two) and Player Page for David Robertson (two). Britton worked the ninth inning on Tuesday.
"We've bounced it around a little bit while Chappy's been out," Boone said. "We feel like also Britton has really, over his last several outings, really has started to build some momentum and really started to kind of get into that Zach Britton form that we've seen for years now."
Chapman owns a 2.11 ERA with 31 saves and 84 strikeouts in 50 appearances this season. He was cleared to rejoin the active roster after throwing 22 pitches earlier this week to the Yanks' Kyle Higashioka and Tyler Wade.
"I'm happy to see that I've gotten the strength back in that knee, which I lost a little bit towards the end," Chapman said through an interpreter. "So everything that has happened, all the preparation and the rehab work that I've done, has helped me a lot."
Keep it on ice
Boston's magic number to secure its third consecutive American League East title remained at two prior to Wednesday's game, and the Yankees would love to prevent the Red Sox from splashing beer and bubbly in the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium.
"It always serves as motivation," Britton said. "You don't want somebody celebrating on your home field. They're a good ballclub and we know where we are in the standings. I think we've got to focus on what we can do, and that's play good baseball like we did [Tuesday]."
Neil Walker, who hit a go-ahead three-run homer in Tuesday's win, said that stalling a Red Sox celebration is not something that the players have discussed. It hasn't needed to be a topic; the Yankees are focused on getting their house in order ahead of the postseason, and keeping Boston from winning games would be a byproduct of that.
"We've got to take care of business," Walker said. "We need to get back on track and play the kind of baseball we're capable of playing. We've been grinding for several weeks here, kind of one step forward and two steps back. We feel like with health and the quality of at-bats guys are throwing out there, you're not seeing guys panic. You can kind of sense the comfortability starting to come back."
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East at Yankee Stadium just once, on Sept. 28, 2016.
This date in Yankees history
Sept. 19, 2011: Mariano Rivera hurls a perfect ninth inning in the Yankees' 6-4 victory over the Twins for his 602nd career save, surpassing Trevor Hoffman's previous Major League record of 601.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.