Girardi: Chapman will make 'bullpen longer'

May 3rd, 2016
Aroldis Chapman will serve as the Yankees' closer when he joins the team next week. (AP)

BALTIMORE -- Aroldis Chapman can't cure what has ailed the Yankees' sluggish offense, but the club is still looking forward to plugging the flame-throwing left-hander in for some save situations, beginning next week.

Chapman has been working out at the Yankees' Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla., and is expected to make two more appearances in extended Spring Training action before Monday, when his 30-game suspension for violating baseball's domestic violence policy is set to expire.

"I just think it makes our bullpen longer," manager Joe Girardi said. "You use guys maybe a little bit differently, which I think helps."

Girardi said that should the Yankees have a ninth-inning lead against the Royals on Monday, Chapman will get the call, sliding right-hander Dellin Betances and left-hander Andrew Miller into setup roles.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been keeping tabs on Chapman's work in Florida.

"I'm sure he's champing at the bit to get up here and assist, but he's not part of the equation right now while we wait it out," Cashman said. "It's one of those scenarios where no news is good news.

"You see the appearances that he has and you see the notations in the game reports from the pitching coach, but it's not like I'm on the phone every other day or even on a weekly basis, [saying,] 'Tell me what's going on.' He's just getting his work done, which is good."

Betances has a 3.09 ERA in 12 appearances, despite surrendering home runs in each of his last three outings, while Miller has worked 10 scoreless, dominant innings, allowing just four hits while walking none and striking out 16.

Girardi said that it is "very possible" that Chapman's arrival will give him the flexibility to dispatch Miller in a more situational role.

"Let's just see what we get into," Girardi said. "Worry about that when he gets here."