Aroldis Chapman went from hugging his former teammates to striking them out a few hours later.
On a memorable Friday afternoon, Chapman received his 2016 Cubs World Series ring and later recorded his seventh save of the season, as the Yankees defeated the defending champions 3-2 at Wrigley Field.
“It was a special moment,” Chapman said after hugging his ex-teammates and getting a terrific reception from the crowd after receiving his new jewelry in a pregame ceremony.
Chapman then came on in the ninth inning after Brett Gardner’s go-ahead, three-run homer. Chase Headley made a two-base error to open the frame, but Chapman struck out Jason Heyward, got Wilson Contreras to ground out to Headley before fanning Javier Baez to strand Addison Russell on second.
“It wasn’t strange facing them,” said Chapman, who had faced the Cubs several times while closing for the Reds. “That’s how the game goes. You have to be ready to compete.”
Chapman returned to the Yankees on a five-year, $ 86 million contract. So far he has pitched to a 0.79 ERA.
The flamethrower had said he was overused by Joe Maddon during the playoffs, but they have a good relationship now, according to Chapman. In fact, Maddon had said that the Cubs would not have won without him.
“I feel humble for that comment, but I believe that that team had a lot of talent and good players,” Chapman said.
Adam Warren also received a ring, although he showed it off rather sheepishly. Warren had a 5.91 ERA with Chicago in 29 appearances before he was traded to the Yankees with three prospects, including Gleyber Torres, in exchange for Chapman at last season’s deadline.
The Cubs also honored former shortstop Starlin Castro with a video tribute and by playing his old walk-up song before his first at-bat.