New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman placed on IL because of leg infection stemming from tattoo

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8:06 PM ET

  • Marly RiveraESPN Writer


      Marly Rivera is a writer for and

OAKLAND, Calif. — In the latest chapter of Aroldis Chapman’s disappointing 2022 season, the New York Yankees placed their former closer on the 15-day injured list because of what manager Aaron Boone called “a pretty bad infection” on Chapman’s leg, arising from a new tattoo.

Boone disclosed before Saturday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics that the lefty reliever, who was demoted after Clay Holmes took over the closer role in May, would be placed on the injured list for the second time this season, this time having to deal with a severe leg infection. Chapman missed 35 games earlier in the year (May 24-June 30) because of left Achilles tendinitis.

“[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,” 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.”

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Chapman was with the team at the Oakland Coliseum for the first matchup of the four-game series against the Athletics on Thursday, but he was unavailable to pitch because of increased leg discomfort.

“We’re treating him with antibiotics and things like that,” Boone added. “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. It’s gotten a little bit worse over the last two days.”

A person familiar with the situation told ESPN that the Yankees are legitimately concerned about the present state of Chapman’s leg infection and did not discount a potential visit to a local hospital near the team hotel in downtown San Francisco.

In terms of whether there was a level of frustration with Chapman, with him having endangered his physical health by getting a tattoo during the season, Boone called getting a tattoo something that generally does not entail additional complications.

“I don’t have tattoos. That’s a personal choice [but] usually a pretty safe thing to deal with,” Boone said. “This is more of an unfortunate situation that has turned into an infection. My focus is on trying to get him right and help him.”

Opposing hitters have a .164 batting average (9-for-55) against Chapman in his past 19 appearances since returning from the injured list July 1. Chapman, whose last appearance was Aug. 19 vs. Toronto, has a 4.70 ERA in 36 games this season.

Boone said the Yankees, who did not carry a taxi squad to Oakland, did not make a roster move because it would have been logistically impossible to get a player out to the West Coast in time for Saturday night’s game. The move was further justified with the knowledge that reliever Clay Holmes (lower back stiffness) is still scheduled to be activated off the injured list before the start of Monday’s series in Anaheim.

“We’ll just kind of monitor the situation today,” Boone said of whether the Yankees would call another pitcher up for Sunday’s series finale in Oakland. “If we need someone for tomorrow, we’ll maybe cross that bridge.”

In other Yankees injury news, catcher Jose Trevino repeated the refrain “I’m good” several times when asked how he was feeling after getting hit by a 94 mph fastball on his right big toe in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ Friday night 3-2 victory over the Athletics.

“Getting hit by a baseball hurts; shake it off and come back,” Trevino said of having to deal with the soreness on his right toe.

Trevino was replaced by Kyle Higashioka in the ninth inning Friday night, and Higashioka also started at catcher Saturday. Boone said Trevino would likely be available only “in an emergency situation” for the third game of the series, adding that Higashioka would likely also be behind the dish Sunday.

And while Trevino is still very sore, per Boone, the team was encouraged after X-rays came back negative.

“Hopefully it’s something that’s just a day-to-day thing,” Boone said. “Fortunate that we hopefully dodged something serious.”