New York Yankees ace closer Aroldis Chapman could’ve waited to get his new leg tattoo or he could’ve ensured that the tattoo artist he used was better? Either way a disappointing season for the reliever due to injuries was made worse as he is dealing with a leg infection from a new tattoo. This latest disaster will severely hamper the Yankees bullpen as they get ready for the postseason. Will it cost them a World Series?
“[Chapman’s] got an infection in his leg right now. We’re hoping we’d kind of knock it out and be able to take care of it the last couple days, but it’s still significant enough, from a tattoo he recently got; he’s got a pretty bad infection in there,” manager Aaron Boone explained before Saturday’s game against the A’s. “He was actually at the hotel yesterday [Friday], still back at the hotel now. We’re treating him with antibiotics and things like that. So he’s got an infection that he’s dealing with that’s going to force him on the IL.”
The Yankees are seven and a half games up on the Tampa Bay Rays for the division crown and three and a half games behind Astros for best record in the American League. Getting their bullpen sorted out and everyone healthy for a playoff run is of the utmost importance.
Chapman is a big part of their bullpen, and if he’s unavailable winning a World Series will be that much harder. Why did he need a picture of his sister tattooed on his leg now? We may never know the answer to that question.
“We have a really good bullpen and I’m a part of that bullpen,” Chapman said when asked if he feels like he let the team down. “Of course you’re going to feel bad not being there for them, so yeah.”
The Yankees have played .500 baseball in their last 10 games. While Chapman is on the IL for the next 15 games, they don’t want to play .500 ball or worse. A tight race with 30 or so games to go is not what they want.
If their offense gets into an extended slump and they can’t rely on their bullpen, battling it out until the end of the regular season could prove costly. Or, worst-case scenario, they don’t win the division and then their road gets even more challenging. The Yankees are +450, according to Las Vegas, to win the World Series, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (+300) and Houston Astros (+375).
“We got a division to try to win,” Boone said, “and we need to put our best foot forward.”
There is concern internally from the organization that Chapman’s infection could be more serious. He will be monitored closely and if need be sent to a hospital while the team is on the road.
“Hopefully he’s good in several days. We can backdate this a few days, but we have to get our arms around it and get the infection out of there,” Boone said. “It’s gotten a little bit worse over the last two days.”
The Yankees begin a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Monday.