TAMPA, Fla. -- Like the rest of his Yankees teammates, Aroldis Chapman is waiting to see how Major League Baseball will rule on a potential suspension, but the left-hander said Thursday that he plans to appeal if disciplined.Chapman reported to George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday along with the rest
TAMPA, Fla. -- Like the rest of his Yankees teammates, Aroldis Chapman is waiting to see how Major League Baseball will rule on a potential suspension, but the left-hander said Thursday that he plans to appeal if disciplined.
Chapman reported to George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday along with the rest of the Yankees' pitchers and catchers, confirming that he has spoken to MLB investigators concerning an offseason domestic-violence incident at his Florida home.
"I understand that everybody is worried about the issue and I understand that everybody wants to know, but it's something that is out of my hands," Chapman said through an interpreter. "My main focus is to play baseball. I feel great. I'm happy to be here and I can't wait to get started."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the organization understands Chapman's situation is a serious issue and will handle it that way. No criminal charges were filed following the Oct. 30 incident in Davie, Fla., and Girardi said that he wants to get to know Chapman better before forming an opinion about his character.
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"There's people that we have here that have been around him and have said that he works extremely hard," Girardi said. "He wants to win and he comes to play every day, but until I really get around him, it's pretty hard to form an opinion on the other stuff."
Chapman said that he is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session of the spring on Saturday. The 27-year-old went 4-4 with 33 saves and a 1.63 ERA in 65 appearances for the Reds last year, and said he was excited when Girardi named him the Yankees' closer.
"It was something that came as a surprise to me," Chapman said. "I wasn't thinking about being the closer; my focus was to join the team and help the team win. When it was announced by Joe, I felt really happy. I want to help the team win."
According to Statcast™, Chapman threw the hardest fastball in the Majors last year at 103.92 mph and posted the highest average fastball velocity in the Majors (99.96 mph). Yankees reliever Dellin Betances said that when Chapman gets on the hill, it promises to be a must-see event.
"I think the crowd in Yankee Stadium is going to wait instead of leaving early to beat traffic," Betances said. "They're going to stay and wait to see 102, 103, 104. That's a lot harder than a lot of us throw."
Chapman was a National League All-Star in each of the last four seasons. Over his six-year Major League career, Chapman has gone 19-20 with 146 saves, a 2.17 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 324 appearances.
"I feel very happy to be here, very happy to be a Yankee," Chapman said. "The change of going from Cincinnati to the New York Yankees, I think it's a point in my career where it's going to make an impact. This is a team that loves winning; I love winning, too. I'm very happy to be here."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.