Chapman sizzles on Yankees debut in win over Royals

Mon May 9, 2016 11:53pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cuban closer Aroldis Chapman is renowned for his breakneck fastball yet New York Yankees fans were forced to wait a month to witness his explosive pace before he made a winning debut on Monday after serving a suspension for a domestic abuse incident.

Entering the game in the ninth with a 6-2 lead over the World Series champion Kansas City Royals, Chapman was cheered by the Yankee Stadium crowd and delivered seven pitches at 100 mph (160 kph) or more to the delight of the fans.

The "Cuban Missile" struck out the first two batters before pinch-hitter Paulo Orlando doubled deep to center and scored on a single by Alcides Escobar to make it 6-3 before the left-hander retired Lorenzo Cain on a ground out to end the game.

"I felt good out there, for being my first outing in a while," Chapman said at his locker through a translator. "I thought it was pretty good."

Manager Joe Girardi was relieved that Chapman, acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, did not overthrow in an attempt to please his new audience.

"I was glad he threw strikes," Girardi said. "I figured there would be a lot of adrenalin, waiting an extra month to play and I think he did just fine."

MLB punished Chapman after it independently investigated an Oct. 30 incident in which the Cuban's girlfriend told police he pushed and choked her and later allegedly fired shots from a handgun into his garage wall and window out of frustration.

No charges were filed but MLB determined that Chapman violated the league's domestic violence policy and handed down a 30-game suspension, which the pitcher accepted without appeal.   Continued...

May 9, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) pitches during the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. New York Yankees won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports