Yankees’ Chapman ruled out for ALDS after skipping workout

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman has been ruled out for the American League Division Series after he skipped a mandatory workout, leading to a fine and likely ending the All-Star’s seven-year tenure with New York.

The 34-year-old flamethrower probably would not have been on the 26-man roster for the best-of-five series against Cleveland due to erratic performances and inconsistent mechanics.

Chapman, who has not gotten a save since May 17, had been scheduled to pitch batting practice at Yankee Stadium but the team said he instead was in Miami. After speaking with Chapman, manager Aaron Boone told general manager Brian Cashman he instructed the pitcher to stay away from the club.

“I think he questioned whether he was going to be on the roster or not,” Boone said.

Chapman had disrupted an already depleted bullpen when he went on the injured list from Aug. 24 until Sept. 16 due to an infection in a leg caused by getting a tattoo.

“It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t here,” Cashman said. “Clearly disappointing, but at the same time not surprised by how things are starting to play out over the course of the season. So it was surprising at first, like a little shocking, but then after the shock wore off, when you add everything up, it’s not surprising. There’s some questions about whether he’s been all in or not for a little while, and he’s maintained verbally that he’s in, but at times actions don’t match those words.”

Cashman, who has worked for the Yankees since 1986, could not recall another player missing a workout. In October 2015, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey missed a workout three days before his team’s Division Series opener.

Chapman’s agent, Scott Shapiro, said he and his client had no comment. While the Yankees did not rule out Chapman for later rounds, they left the impression his return is unlikely.

In other news, Matt Carpenter likely will be on the roster as a pinch hitter/designated hitter after recovering from a broken left foot sustained Aug. 8. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi remains a long shot following surgery to repair a broken bone in his right wrist. Reliever Clay Holmes will be on the roster but might not be available for the opener as he returns from a Sept. 29 cortisone injection to treat inflammation in his right rotator cuff.

Infielder DJ LeMaheiu’s status had not been determined as he tries to overcome an inflamed right second toe that limited him to 18 plate appearances after Sept 4.

Gerrit Cole will start for the Yankees in the opener, followed by Nestor Cortes in Game 2 and Luis Severino in Game 3. Boone is leaning toward a three-man rotation against the AL Central champion Guardians, who swept two games from Tampa Bay in the first round. Jameson Taillon and Domingo German will work out of the bullpen.

Chapman has 315 saves in 13 major league seasons with Cincinnati, the Chicago Cubs and Yankees, and he earned his seventh All-Star selection last year. But he has a 4.46 ERA this year and 28 walks in 36 1/3 innings.

Boone and Cashman wouldn’t say whether Chapman had a chance to make the ALDS roster before the incident.

“When you’re used to being superhuman and then you deal with adversity, obviously, I think people deal with it differently. And this year was a struggle for him,” Cashman said. “This game’s not easy, but you don’t need to make it harder by, again, not showing up at a mandatory workout, for yourself as you compete for postseason, as well as for your teammates who are in there right now fighting to be ready when called upon.”

New York’s bullpen is missing right-handers Ron Marinaccio (sore right shin), Chad Green (Tommy John surgery) and Michael King (broken right elbow), and left-hander Zack Britton (left shoulder fatigue).

Left-hander Wandy Peralta has not pitched since Sept. 18 due to back tightness. Right-hander Scott Effross was out between Aug, 20 and Sept. 24 because of a strained right shoulder before making five late-season appearances; and right-hander Albert Abreu returned from an inflamed right elbow that had sidelined him since Aug. 20.

“Thankfully, we’ve got some guys coming back from injuries,” Cashman said. “Certainly some of them pitched very little towards the end when they came back off their IL stints. But they’re healthy, and ultimately it’ll be an interesting roster discussion that we are to have soon.”

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.