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Chapman cleared to return; Tanaka's new hat

@BryanHoch
August 1, 2020

NEW YORK -- Aroldis Chapman is on his way back to the Yankees' bullpen, according to manager Aaron Boone, who said on Friday that the left-hander has been cleared to resume activities with the team. Chapman was placed on the COVID-19 injured list on July 11 after testing positive during

NEW YORK -- Aroldis Chapman is on his way back to the Yankees' bullpen, according to manager Aaron Boone, who said on Friday that the left-hander has been cleared to resume activities with the team.

Chapman was placed on the COVID-19 injured list on July 11 after testing positive during Summer Camp workouts. Boone said that Chapman was expected to play catch on Friday, though he has not been activated.

The 32-year-old Chapman is believed to have been asymptomatic. He frequently posted workout videos on Instagram from his Manhattan apartment while preparing for his season debut.

"We all know Chappy and how much of a workout freak he is, and how well he takes care of himself," Boone said. "The good thing is, he was never really sick, so he was able to maintain a level of physical conditioning that some people otherwise wouldn't be able to."

Major League protocols state that players must test negative twice at least 24 hours apart in order to be activated. Though Chapman was not able to throw outdoors, Boone said that the Yankees provided a sock-like contraption that allowed him to simulate his motion.

"He was actually throwing in his apartment, like full-on throwing," Boone said. "He's always in great shape, so I'm hopeful that he's probably a little further ahead of the game than some other people normally would be."

Zack Britton has served as the Yankees' closer in Chapman's absence. Britton logged his second save of the year in Thursday's 8-6 victory over the Orioles in Baltimore.

If the cap fits
Masahiro Tanaka said that he experimented with a protective insert inside his cap while tossing this past week, and the right-hander was pleasantly surprised by the results. He plans to utilize it on Saturday against the Red Sox.

"I really didn't know about it," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "A trainer recommended it to me if I wanted to try this on and I was on board with that. It actually turned out that it didn't bother me at all. You kind of forget that that's even in there, so that's when I thought that this may work. It gives me peace of mind."

Tanaka sustained a concussion on July 4 when he was hit by a 112 mph Giancarlo Stanton line drive. Tanaka said that he experienced no anxiety in facing hitters this past week at the Yanks' training site in Moosic, Pa.

"I didn't think of it at all," Tanaka said. "I think I should be fine."

To make room on the roster for Tanaka, the Yankees designated veteran catcher Chris Iannetta for assignment.

Seven and seven
Boone had a favorable view of MLB's decision to incorporate seven-inning doubleheaders, saying that he sees "wisdom and merit" to using the rule during this abbreviated season.

"If we're able to do this, doubleheaders are very much going to be a part of it," Boone said. "In this year, I think it's wise to probably shorten things, even though it wouldn't be how you would draw it up normally."

According to Boone, the Yankees may play a twin bill next weekend against the Rays at Tropicana Field, though changes to the schedule have not been finalized. The Yanks anticipate making up their postponed games against the Phillies early next week.

Up next
The Yankees and Red Sox will continue their weekend series on Saturday at 7:07 p.m. ET. Tanaka is set to make his season debut, opposed by Boston right-hander Zack Godley. The game can be seen on MLB.TV, YES and MLB Network (out of market). It can be heard on Gameday Audio, WFAN 660/101.9 FM and in Spanish on WADO 1280.

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