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Chapman debuts with triple-digit heat, 2 K's

Yankees' closer says focus on slider, changeup in spring
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- There was no drama Thursday as Aroldis Chapman saw his first live action since Game 7 of the World Series, but even with nothing on the line, the left-hander still reared back and gave the exhibition crowd one triple-digit radar gun reading.

Making his first appearance since re-signing with the Yankees, Chapman struck out two in a perfect fourth inning as New York defeated a split-squad Orioles lineup, 8-1, in Grapefruit League play at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

TAMPA, Fla. -- There was no drama Thursday as Aroldis Chapman saw his first live action since Game 7 of the World Series, but even with nothing on the line, the left-hander still reared back and gave the exhibition crowd one triple-digit radar gun reading.

Making his first appearance since re-signing with the Yankees, Chapman struck out two in a perfect fourth inning as New York defeated a split-squad Orioles lineup, 8-1, in Grapefruit League play at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

"It's exciting to get back out there," Chapman said through an interpreter. "I wanted to go out there and work on what I've been working on."

Video: BAL@NYY: Chapman discusses his spring debut

While Chapman's fastball mostly sat in the high 90s, he said he was more focused on his secondary offerings, continuing to tinker with his slider and changeup. Chapman said he hopes to pitch about eight spring innings to prepare for the regular season.

"At this point, velocity is not important," said Chapman, who struck out Chris Dickerson and Trey Mancini before inducing a Logan Schafer groundout. "What's important is the location on the pitches, and that's really what I'm working on."

According to Statcast™, Chapman registered the 30 fastest pitches in the Majors last season, with the fastest coming on a 105.1 mph fastball on July 18 against Baltimore.

Video: BAL@NYY: Chapman strikes out Mancini swinging

Though his heater and slider generate the most applause, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Chapman's changeup gives him a legitimate -- and arguably unfair -- third offering.

"His changeup is really good," Girardi said. "When you throw 103, you don't necessarily throw it, but it's really good. You just don't see a lot of them, but it's something that he's working on."

Chapman combined with the Yankees and Cubs to go 4-1 with 36 saves in 39 chances and a 1.55 ERA in 59 appearances, striking out 90 batters in 58 innings. Girardi said there is no rush to prepare Chapman for the season, as he will follow a similar routine to the one Mariano Rivera did for years.

"There's plenty of time. He'll get plenty of appearances," Girardi said. "He'll be ready. That's not a concern."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman