Chap­man fo­cus­ing on return to Yanks, not Cubs’ ti­tle

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Mark Didtler

TAMPA, FLA. >> Aroldis Chap­man is fo­cus­ing on his return to the New York Yankees, not the World Series ring he earned with the Chicago Cubs.

“I’m here now,” Chap­man said through a trans­la­tor Wed­nes­day be­fore the Yankees’ first spring train­ing work­out. “We have a job to be done here. It was kind of like a chap­ter in my ca­reer I turn over and look to the fu­ture now.”

New York ob­tained Chap­man in a De­cem­ber 2015 trade with Cincin­nati, then dealt the hardthrow­ing left-han­der to the Cubs on July 25 for Adam War­ren and three mi­nor lea­guers.

Af­ter help­ing the Cubs win their first NL pen­nant since 1945, Chap­man played a key role as Chicago ended a World Series drought dat­ing to 1908. He be­came a free agent and signed an $86 mil­lion, five-year deal with the Yankees, the rich­est con­tract for a re­liever.

“I def­i­nitely en­joyed it to the max­i­mum, but not only me but my fam­ily, my friends,” Chap­man said of his time in Chicago. “They were part of it, too. To be part of a team that won the World Series, the team hadn’t won the World Series in 108 years, that’s fan­tas­tic. That’s def­i­nitely an ex­pe­ri­ence I’ll never for­get.”

Chap­man will have the op­por­tu­nity to bring his 100 mph-plus fast­ball back to Wrigley Field when New York plays a three-game series against the Cubs from May 5-7. He sees some sim­i­lar­ity be­tween the 2017 Yankees and last year’s Cubs, who com­bined an in­flux of youth with veter­ans.

“I’ve seen a lot of teams do this,” Chap­man said. “We just saw it hap­pen with Chicago. This is go­ing to be a very good thing. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to be­ing a part of this youth move­ment.”

The Baby Bombers youth move­ment be­gan last sum­mer when catcher Gary Sanchez, out­fielder Aaron Judge and first base­man/out­fielder Tyler Austin were brought up. Greg Bird, side­lined with a shoul­der in­jury for all of last sea­son, is Mark Teix­eira’s likely re­place­ment at first base.

Af­ter fail­ing to re­cover from a 9-17 start last year, the Yankees’ makeover be­gan when Chap­man, An­drew Miller and Car­los Bel­tran were dealt pri­mar­ily for prospects, and when Alex Ro­driguez was re­leased. New York re­mained on the pe­riph­ery of the play­off con­tention be­fore fad­ing to a fourth-place fin­ish at 84-78, four games back of the sec­ond wild card.

Chap­man said the ex­tra month of pitch­ing last year is not an is­sue. He ap­peared in the fi­nal three games of the Cubs’ World Series win over Cleve­land, in­clud­ing a 2 2/3 in­nings save in Game 5. He got the vic­tory in Chicago’s 10-in­ning Game 7 win af­ter al­low­ing Ra­jai Davis ty­ing homer in the eighth.

“I worked re­ally hard in the off­sea­son,” Chap­man said. “Worked on my body a lot. I feel good. I feel ready.”

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Aroldis Chap­man is back with the Yankees af­ter help­ing the Cubs win the World Series.

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