Chapman debuts, working to improve vs. lefties

March 4th, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. -- threw 876 pitches during the regular season last year, and two are not far from his mind. They were fastballs to of the Red Sox and of the Mariners, resulting in the first home runs he'd allowed to left-handed hitters since June 2011.

Those August offerings inspired Chapman and pitching coach Larry Rothschild to tinker with the hurler's form, and there is still work to be done. Chapman retired one of the three lefties he faced in Sunday's 9-1 Grapefruit League loss to the Rays, marking his spring debut.

"Facing lefties last year, my command wasn't there where I wanted it to be," Chapman said through an interpreter. "[I want to] just feel more comfortable facing them. This is the time to do that now, to make those adjustments. I definitely know I can improve."

Entering for the third inning, Chapman drilled on his right elbow guard before buzzing up and in twice.

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"It got most of my elbow guard, so it didn't hurt that bad," Cronenworth said. "I would have been more nervous if I was Mallex."

The Tampa Bay speedster responded by slapping a single to left field, and grounded into a fielder's choice to end Chapman's appearance.

"He lost a couple of fastballs there, obviously," manager Aaron Boone said. "What I liked was, I thought he spun the ball well. I thought the slider was pretty good, especially for the first time out in a game."

Lefties hit .175/.262/.316 against Chapman last season, with 27 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances. They've managed an anemic .130 average and .179 slugging percentage over his career.

"I had a couple of issues with lefties last year. I want to improve on that," Chapman said. "That has been a goal of mine and Larry's, to face more lefties during this camp. The fastball feels good, feels that it is there. The slider as well. I feel pretty good right now. We'll keep on going."

Parting gifts

returned to his day job on Sunday morning, ending a six-day stint in camp, but the Seahawks quarterback left his mark. Each Yankees player received an autographed NFL game ball, and reliever Tommy Kahnle discovered two extra souvenirs.

Kahnle, whose locker doubles as a shrine to the Super Bowl champions, was shocked when he saw Wilson's signature defacing his regulation-issue Eagles helmet with the inscription, "Go Hawks!" It was a practical joke, Kahnle said. Wilson signed a piece of clear tape and affixed it to the Eagles' logo. Wilson also left behind a game-worn Seahawks jersey from this past season.

Easy being Green

Though worked two scoreless innings and displayed an improved slider in his second spring start on Sunday, he could soon be nudged back to the bullpen.

"Our preference is to eventually here move him back, but we want to at least be in that position [where he could start], should something come up," Boone said. "But I would expect us to probably pretty soon move him back to that role that he was so very good in last year."

No matter his role, Green said that he would like to incorporate more changeups to help generate weak contact and avoid long counts.

"I was comfortable in my role last year, but I'm open to starting," Green said. "Everybody is open to starting. Everybody likes the routine part of starting and going every five days, but I'm comfortable with whatever role. I'll have the mentality of starting until they tell me otherwise."

Camp battles

As the second-base competition continues, Boone said that "from what I've seen, we'll be in a position to have some really good options." went 2-for-3 on Sunday and is 4-for-10 this spring. Playing shortstop and third base, was hitless in two at-bats with a sacrifice fly. He's 5-for-14 (.357).

Injury report

(concussion) rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes on Sunday morning, and the Yankees are planning to be conservative with his situation moving forward. Frazier said that he would rest all of Monday and hopes to resume workouts on Tuesday.

(food poisoning) has resumed workouts and is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Tuesday morning, with a game appearance to follow soon after.

Up next: Following an off-day on Monday, is on the mound Tuesday as the Yankees visit the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET (listen on Gameday Audio). , Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius, , and have been listed on the travel roster.