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New York Yankees activate Anthony Rizzo, Aroldis Chapman

Aug 2, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) reacts after being hit by a pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) reacts after being hit by a pitch during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees activated first baseman Anthony Rizzo and left-hander Aroldis Chapman prior to Wednesday night’s game against the visiting Boston Red Sox.

Rizzo was placed on the COVID-19 list on Aug. 8 after testing positive for the virus. Chapman has been on the IL with an elbow injury and last pitched on Aug. 5.

The 32-year-old Rizzo was acquired from the Chicago Cubs prior to the trade deadline. He is batting .281 with three homers and six RBIs in nine games with New York.

“Excited obviously to have him back,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said prior to Wednesday’s game. “I think that’s the one thing we’ll probably have to watch is the stamina part of things.”

Rizzo, a three-time All-Star, was playing first base and batting second on Wednesday night.

One player surely paying attention to the lineup card was Luke Voit, who starred in Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep of Boston and then insisted that he was the team’s first baseman. Voit wasn’t in the starting lineup Wednesday.

“I was top-10 (in MVP balloting) last year and I’ve been a great player for this organization for the last (three-plus) years,” Voit said after Tuesday’s sweep. “I’m not going down. I want to play. Obviously, I know it will be tough with Rizzo, but I deserve to play just as much as he does. I led the league in home runs last year.”

Boone said he spoke to Voit about his comments and to address the situation. He said he told Voit there will be plenty of chances for him to contribute. Boone said Voit agreed.

“This is all about us as a team right now,” Boone said. “Let it play out.”

Chapman, a seven-time All-Star, is 5-3 with 23 saves and a 3.63 ERA in 43 appearances.

The 33-year-old lost his job as closer in early July after a three-game stretch in which he gave up nine earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. But he later regained the job and has converted his last seven save chances.

Rizzo is the fourth New York player to return from the COVID-19 list this week. The others are right-hander Gerrit Cole, left-hander Jordan Montgomery and catcher Gary Sanchez.

Despite the issues, the Yankees have won five straight games and 17 of their past 22.

New York also optioned right-hander Nick Nelson (8.79 ERA with the Yankees) and outfielders Jonathan Davis (1-for-16) and Trey Amburgey (0-for-4) to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Amburgey (hamstring) completed a minor league rehab stint and was removed from the IL before being sent down.

–Field Level Media