The Yankees didn’t play Thursday, meaning manager Aaron Boone had another day to decide what to do at the closer spot, but he has another option is he wants to use it.
Zack Britton, who had been out with a left hamstring strain since June 26, was activated from the 10-day injured prior to Thursday’s postponed game against the Red Sox.
He likely was healthy enough to pitch before the All-Star break, but the Yankees were cautious and it backfired, as Domingo German and Chad Green blew a five-run lead in the ninth inning to the Astros on Sunday, while the struggling Aroldis Chapman didn’t get in the game.
Chapman, who was at the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Denver, but didn’t get in the game, hasn’t pitched since a scoreless inning on July 6 in Seattle.
Chapman’s struggles date back to shortly after MLB’s crackdown on sticky substances last month.
Before his most recent outing, Chapman went through a stretch of nine games in which he allowed 14 earned runs, four homers and six walks in 5 ²/₃ innings to go along with just six strikeouts.
Green has seven career saves, but Britton, who missed most of the first half of the season following spring training elbow surgery, has extensive closing experience: He had 47 saves with the Orioles in 2016.
The left-hander has been limited to five games this season after dealing with the elbow and hamstring injuries, as well as a bout with COVID during the offseason.
Before the postponement, German was set to start Thursday in the opener of the four-game series against the Red Sox, followed by Jordan Montgomery on Friday, Gerrit Cole on Saturday and Jameson Taillon on Sunday.
The rotation has pitched well of late, with a combined ERA of 1.93 in the Yankees’ previous seven games.
Rougned Odor switched his uniform number from 18 to 12.