CLEVELAND — At Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Aroldis Chapman won’t be doing anything more strenuous than tipping his Yankees cap.
The lefty closer has chosen to rest his bothersome left knee, so he won’t be available to pitch for the AL at Nationals Park in Washington.
“Definitely a tough decision,’’ Chapman said through an interpreter on Friday, prior to the Yankees-Indians game at Progressive Field. “But at the end of the day, I feel it was a smart decision for me to help me recover and get ready for the second half — one that’s going to be very demanding and very exciting.
“For me, it was the right decision to make at this time, to rest and get ready for what we have coming up.’’
Chapman has been managing left knee tendinitis for most of the season, pitching to a 1.38 ERA and converting 25 of 26 save opportunities — including Thursday night’s 7-4 win at Cleveland.
“The discomfort is about the same, but it’s improving little by little,’’ Chapman said of his knee, which felt “pretty good’’ during Thursday’s game. It marked his first appearance since last Saturday at Toronto, when manager Aaron Boone removed him after facing one batter.
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However, Chapman was available all week and he’ll be ready to fulfill his normal closer obligations this weekend if needed.
“If we’re in a save situation tonight, he’s probably going to get the ball,’’ Boone said before Friday’s game. “I feel like we’re in a pretty good spot with him.’’
But there’s at least “a possibility of seven days (off),’’ Chapman said. The Yankees’ season resumes next Friday against the Mets in the Bronx version of the Subway Series.
“Ultimately, hopefully he can benefit from (the rest) a little bit,’’ Boone said of Chapman’s decision just to go to Washington to support All-Star teammates Luis Severino and Aaron Judge.
Yankees rookie infielder Gleyber Torres (strained right hip) was also selected but is on the 10-day disabled list. Torres is due to resume taking batting practice on Saturday and could begin a minor league rehab assignment as early as Wednesday.
The extra rest “certainly can’t hurt him,’’ Boone said of Chapman. “(The tendinitis) is something he’s been dealing with now for a while (and) it’s something he’ll continue to maintain throughout the season and we’ll monitor all the time.’’
Meanwhile, the Yankees have considered adding a left-handed reliever, with Baltimore’s Zach Britton looming as a possibility to land with any number of contenders before the July 31 trade deadline.
Britton might also be included if the Yankees were to swing a trade for Orioles’ superstar shortstop Manny Machado.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Dodgers and Yankees had the strongest current bids for Machado, but that the Phillies had improved their offer. The Brewers and Diamondbacks remained interested parties as well.
Slugging catcher Gary Sanchez (strained right groin) is on course to start a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday with Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre according to Boone.
After running the bases on Thursday, Sanchez threw to the bases on Friday. And if he comes through fine, physically, Sanchez will report to Scranton, with the expectation that he’ll be ready to return next Friday to start the second half.
At Tampa, Fla., outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury “is still dealing with hip stuff’’ and has yet to resume baseball activity according to Boone. Ellsbury hasn’t played all year and Boone didn’t want to speculate on when he might return. His contract runs through 2020.
Didi Gregorius was given a rest from the starting lineup Friday, but he’s expected to start the final two games before the All-Star break. Tyler Wade got the start at shortstop on Friday night.
Boone said he didn’t necessarily think it was a case of Luis Severino tipping his pitches on Thursday night (5 IP, 4 ER) as the right-hander suggested might have happened against the Indians.