CLEVELAND — Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman won't pitch in the All-Star Game in order to rest his sore left knee.
Chapman earned his 25th save Thursday against the Cleveland Indians in his first appearance since Saturday, when he was removed from a game in Toronto after facing one batter because of discomfort in the knee.
Chapman, who has made the All-Star team five times, is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 40 appearances. He has struck out 67 in 39 innings and held opponents to a .129 batting average.
"I'm trying to put together a couple of days where I don't do any baseball activity, just let the knee get better," Chapman said through a translator.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Chapman is available to pitch in the final three games of the series that ends Sunday. Boone thinks giving him time to rest the knee will be beneficial.
"It certainly can't hurt him," Boone said. "Obviously this is something he's been dealing with now for a while, but that we also feel good about that he can continue to deal with it, and it's something that we'll continue to monitor all the time. But hopefully, it's a good decision for him and for us."
Chapman said he experienced no problems with the knee as he breezed through the ninth inning Thursday, striking out one and not allowing a ball out of the infield on 11 pitches.
"I felt really good last night pitching," he said. "The discomfort is about the same, but it's improving little by little."
The ace left-hander has blown only one save this season and converted 11 of 12 save opportunities in June.
New York's bullpen has a 2.68 ERA — the best in the AL. Adam Warren, David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Chapman combined to hold the Indians hitless over the final four innings in Thursday's 7-4 win.
The Yankees trail Boston by 3 1/2 games in the AL East and a healthy Chapman will be a key for the final months.
"It's just dealing with tendinitis; this is the only time obviously throughout the course of the season where guys have a little bit of downtime or a little bit of a break," Boone said. "It's probably wise for him to have a few days extra to just not pound on it."
Chapman admitted the decision to not participate in Tuesday's game was difficult.
"It's an honour to be selected to an All-Star Game, your peers vote for you, managers, fans and all that," he said. "But at the end of the day, I think it's a smart decision for me to help me recover and get ready for the second half."
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