TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have been excited about showing off their new power bullpen for several weeks, but for catcher Brian McCann, their promise did not completely sink in until he saw the hard-throwing trio getting to work under the Florida sun.Aroldis Chapman made his first mound appearance in
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have been excited about showing off their new power bullpen for several weeks, but for catcher Brian McCann, their promise did not completely sink in until he saw the hard-throwing trio getting to work under the Florida sun.
Aroldis Chapman made his first mound appearance in a Yankees uniform on Saturday afternoon, throwing to McCann in the right-field bullpen as fellow relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller popped catchers' gloves just a few feet away.
"I think it hit me when we were all in the bullpen catching, and you look and it's the three big guys throwing at the same time," McCann said. "It's got a chance to be something special."
CC Sabathia also scaled the mound in front of a sizable crowd that included general manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild, plus fans and other onlookers. Chapman said that the attention did not affect him.
"For me, it's something normal," Chapman said through an interpreter. "It really doesn't matter to me who is watching or who is not watching. My job is to get the job done and focus on my pitches."
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Chapman threw 26 pitches in the session, and though McCann said he did not come close to unleashing his 103 mph fastball at full velocity, the Yankees saw enough to be encouraged about having him handle the ninth inning this year.
Girardi called the muscular Chapman "a physical specimen," and after taking in the group of four hurlers as a whole, Cashman joked that they might not look all that out of place dribbling up court on the hardwood.
"The first group, it looks like a team that could compete with some of the Division I college basketball programs right now; CC, Betances, Miller, and Chapman," Cashman said. "That's a lot of height there and athleticism. That certainly stood out."
Chapman said that he has been throwing nearly every day for the past couple of months, and McCann said that Chapman also threw a tight slider and a changeup, working on his location.
"It's exactly what I thought it would be," McCann said. "It comes out extremely hot; it's nice and easy. His delivery is smooth. He's rare. There's not many people that can do that, if any."
Preparing for Opening Day should thus be no issue, though Chapman is still waiting to hear how Major League Baseball will rule in its investigation of an October domestic incident at his Florida home.
"Honestly, the sooner the better," said Chapman, who plans to appeal if suspended. "It's something that I want to put on the side and just forget about."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.