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Yanks, Chapman not concerned by velocity dip

Closer off the mark in non-save spot, clocked in 95-97-mph range
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Although the Yankees took the series opener against the Rangers, 7-3, on Thursday night, a shaky appearance from Aroldis Chapman raised questions of whether the closer was still battling pain in his left knee, but the team does not seem to be worried.

"Health-wise, I think he's good," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I think the knee's better than it's been in a while. Just got to work through it with him. Obviously we'll see how he is today, getting out there and throwing and back on the field, but I don't think we have any issues physically."

NEW YORK -- Although the Yankees took the series opener against the Rangers, 7-3, on Thursday night, a shaky appearance from Aroldis Chapman raised questions of whether the closer was still battling pain in his left knee, but the team does not seem to be worried.

"Health-wise, I think he's good," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I think the knee's better than it's been in a while. Just got to work through it with him. Obviously we'll see how he is today, getting out there and throwing and back on the field, but I don't think we have any issues physically."

Chapman has battled left knee tendinitis this season, and it is the reason he was unable to make an appearance in the All-Star Game. On Thursday, Chapman entered in a non-save situation in the ninth inning and walked the first two batters he faced. Ultimately, he was able to work out of trouble without allowing a run, but his fastball velocity ranged mostly between 95-97 mph, a dip from the triple-digit heat.

"No, the knee's not bothering me," Chapman said through an interpreter. "For speed to fluctuate like that, it's normal. That's where I was yesterday."

"The thing about Chappy, he's mechanically kind of freakish in the way he's able to generate the kind of velocity he does," Boone said. "So I think he's fighting that a little bit so he's not getting that kinetic chain perfectly in sync that allows him to have that velocity."

Since the beginning of July, Chapman has posted a 5.40 ERA with 10 walks in 10 innings. Prior to Thursday's outing, he was coming off his second blown save of the season, allowing three runs -- two earned -- in the ninth against the Red Sox. Boone said he thinks the closer's recent struggles on the mound are mechanical rather than health-related.

"I think he is good. Just going through a little patch right now," Boone said. "I think in a given year you pretty much see every closer go through a little bump."

"There's nothing I can pinpoint to. It hasn't been there, but it doesn't mean it's not going to be there," Chapman said. "You can't over-complicate things, watching a lot of videos and a lot of stuff. You want to keep it simple."

Injury updates
Domingo German was diagnosed with an ulnar nerve injury at the end of July just after his demotion to Triple-A. Boone said Friday that German did not throw for the 10 days after the diagnosis and has yet to throw a bullpen session but has begun playing catch again.

Jonathan Loaisiga landed on Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's disabled list with right shoulder inflammation just a few days after his first stint in the big leagues. Boone said Loaisiga has thrown a couple of bullpen sessions and pitched in a simulated game a few days ago. Boone said the pitcher is close to getting "back into game action."

This date in Yankees history
Aug. 10, 1986: In a pregame ceremony, the Yankees unveiled a plaque in honor of Alfred Manuel "Billy" Martin in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park. Both a player and manager with the Yankees, Martin's No. 1 is also retired.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman