MINNEAPOLIS -- As they continue waiting on their power-hitting right fielder to return from injury, the New York Yankees could be getting a big lift to their bullpen next week, as closer Aroldis Chapman nears the final stage of his rehab from left knee tendinitis.
Manager Aaron Boone said the left-handed Chapman could be back with the club "sometime next week ... if everything goes well" with his rehab over the next few days.
Chapman was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Aug. 22, after exiting the previous night's game having thrown just six pitches due to pain in his left knee.
For much of the season, Chapman has pitched with tendinitis. Although it had bothered him earlier in the season, the pain never became as unbearable as it did that night last month at the Miami Marlins.
"[The pain] was more than usual," Chapman, who is from Cuba, said through an interpreter.
Rest and platelet-rich plasma injections were the primary courses of treatment for Chapman. He has been throwing again over the past two weeks. He completed a side bullpen session at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Florida, on Wednesday, Boone said, before flying back to New York, where he will receive treatments Thursday.
Chapman likely will throw another side bullpen session this weekend when the Yankees return home from a 10-day, three-city road trip. Boone anticipates a simulated game scenario after that, and Chapman could be back in the bullpen soon thereafter.
"You can look at it the same way we look at our lineup," Boone said, referring to the absence of still-injured right-fielder Aaron Judge. "When we were at our best, one of the reasons was the length of our lineup. We were able to hurt you from anywhere [in the order].
"Same way with our bullpen. When you add another guy of Chapman's capabilities to an already strong group, it just allows you to -- in some cases and some days -- shorten the game even more."
Through 50 games this season, Chapman has 31 saves and a 2.11 ERA.