After testing positive for COVID-19 in July, Chapman made his season debut Monday, allowing one run on two hits while fanning two during a non-save situation. The 32-year-old lefty, who posted a 2.21 ERA and 37 saves last season, had been commuting from New York for workouts at the club's alternate training site in Moosic, Pa.
Chapman's fastball was in midseason form, as he struck out the last two men he faced, gassing Rafael Devers on a 101.3 mph heater for the final out.
"I never worry about [velocity]," Chapman said through an interpreter after the game. "I was able to work the whole time. It was key for me to keep on working, keep on training. So in my mind, I was never worried about it."
Prior to the game, manager Aaron Boone said Chapman is the club's closer.
"We'll build him up slowly this first week as far as by not having him do any back-to-backs or anything like that," said Boone. "We'll kind of monitor him this week, but in a save situation, he'll be in there."
Chapman said that he experienced mild symptoms after receiving his positive coronavirus diagnosis early in Summer Camp, including the loss of his senses of smell and taste. He was able to continue exercising in his Manhattan apartment, documenting several of his workouts on Instagram.
"Luckily, I felt good throughout the whole time in quarantine," Chapman said through an interpreter. "I had to get creative. I had to purchase some equipment and move some stuff around the apartment to try to get as close as I could to my regular workout routine."
Zack Britton performed well as the interim closer, leading the Majors with eight saves in as many opportunities. Britton said that he was fine with returning to the setup role that he filled last season, especially with right-hander Tommy Kahnle lost for the season following Tommy John surgery.
"We're adding a quality arm," Britton said. "It's going to help our bullpen and it's going to give us some depth with Tommy being out. It's going to be huge for us."
Giancarlo Stanton appeared to be an early contender for the American League's Comeback Player of the Year Award, batting .293 (12-for-41) with three doubles, three homers and seven RBIs through 14 games. Then a left hamstring strain sent Stanton back to the injured list on Aug. 9.
"Words can't really describe the disappointment I've had over this," Stanton said. "You can't really dwell on it. I have to see what's in front of me, and that's still a decent amount of the season and the playoffs. I was in this situation before. It seems unreal at times, but I can just push forward and root my guys on until I'm back."
Stanton has been receiving treatment and said that he expects to resume baseball activities shortly. Given an estimated recovery time of three to four weeks, Stanton is targeting a big league return within the window of Aug. 30 to Sept. 6.
"This has been tough, to be honest. This is my life," Stanton said. "I put a lot into this. It's unbelievable. You've just got to look at it for what it is and the spot that I'm in. It's a tough spot, but people have been in worse. There can always be light at the end of the tunnel."
DJ LeMahieu (left thumb sprain) is expected to return in two to three weeks, according to Boone, who said that the infielder is experiencing a similar injury to one that he sustained in May 2018 while with the Rockies. The Yankees are consulting with a hand specialist who treated LeMahieu at that time.
"There's no fracture in there, and the ligaments on the side are intact and not compromised," Boone said. "So it's just the sprain and it's getting the swelling out of there. Hopefully [LeMahieu will return] in that two- to three-week range."
Aaron Judge (right calf strain) was scheduled to resume baseball activities on Monday, including jogging and swinging a bat. Judge expects to rejoin the active roster on Saturday against the Mets, the first day he would be eligible.
This date in Yankees history
Aug. 17, 1933: Lou Gehrig broke the record for consecutive games played by appearing in his 1,308th consecutive game, surpassing Everett Scott's previous mark of 1,307. Gehrig ultimately played in 2,130 consecutive contests, a mark eclipsed by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (0-0, 2.31 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season on Tuesday as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Rays at 7:05 p.m. ET. Tanaka tossed 66 pitches over four innings in his last outing, taking a no-decision against the Braves. Left-hander Blake Snell (1-0, 2.08 ERA) will start for Tampa Bay.