NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Yankees are whole again.
After playing most of the second half of the season without many of their stars, the Bombers now have everyone in tow for the final 12 games of the regular season as they try to hold off the Oakland Athletics for the top spot in the wild-card race.
The Yankees (92-58) announced on Wednesday that they had activated closer Aroldis Chapman, the last of the key players to be sidelined. Chapman was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 22 with left knee tendinitis. The veteran left-hander is 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 31 saves this season.
New York had been using a closer-by-committee approach in Chapman’s absence, with Dellin Betances, Zach Britton and David Robertson each earning saves.
Chapman’s return is welcome news for the Yankees, who are trying to round into postseason form. They lead the A’s by 2 1/2 games in the wild-card race. The team that finishes first will host the one-game playoff, with the winner taking on the Boston Red Sox in the best-of-five AL Division Series.
The Red Sox hoped to clinch the AL East on Tuesday night in the Bronx, but Neil Walker’s three-run home run in the seventh inning rallied the Yankees to a 3-2 victory.
Aaron Judge, who is fully recovered from a fractured wrist, appeared in the lineup for the first time since July 26, going 0-for-4 but hitting three balls hard. Judge was a late-inning defensive replacement during a win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius, who missed two weeks with a bruised heel earlier this summer, has four homers and 10 RBIs in 10 games since rejoining the team on Sept. 7.
Catcher Gary Sanchez, who has dealt with a groin problem all season, limiting him to just 80 games, returned from his second DL stint on Sept. 1.