Every time the New York Yankees asked Aroldis Chapman about his arm, he would tell the Yankees he felt fine.
However, everything changed when Chapman went into trainer Steve Donahue’s office on Friday night and complained of shoulder discomfort.
The Yankees knew there was something wrong with their closer, so after Chapman underwent an MRI, they placed him on the 10-day disabled list with rotator cuff inflammation. The Yankees aren’t expecting Chapman to do any baseball work for the next four weeks. But after Chapman was placed on the disabled list, he admitted he had felt discomfort and pain for “weeks”.
“I heard Chapman tell you guys that, and all I can tell you is that he didn’t mention anything,” general manager Brian Cashman said on Monday’s off-day. “We check every day with the trainers to see what they’re doing or if anyone is deviating from their routine. That’s all you can do.”
Sure, the Yankees could have gotten Chapman in for a MRI the moment they noticed something was off, but if you’re trying to compare this to recent events regarding the New York Mets, it’s a different situation. New York Mets starter Noah Syndergaard initially refused an MRI, but later was diagnosed with a partial tear in his lat muscle.
The Chapman episode has the same elements of when a veterinarian is trying to diagnose a dog or a cat; neither are willing to disclose they’re in discomfort and are good at hiding pain. But the Yankees should have paid closer attention before sending Chapman to the mound a few days ago.
“If they conceal it, then it becomes veterinary care,” Cashman said. “If the patient can’t tell you what’s wrong, you have to go off symptoms or poor performances and it’s nothing but guesswork. We ask all the questions. Maybe it’s easier for them to convey to [the media] after the fact.”
In the meantime, the Yankees are going to use Dellin Betances as the closer, even if it was a bit inauspicious when he took over the role last September. But the Yankees do hope that the next time someone isn’t feeling well, they’ll tell the training staff so their recovery can be planned accordingly.