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© GETTY/AFP/File | Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees will be shut down with no throwing for two weeks


New York Yankees star closing relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman was benched Sunday with left shoulder rotator cuff inflammation and could miss at least a month of the Major League Baseball season.

Chapman will be shut down with no throwing for two weeks and likely will be sidelined for a month or more, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

An MRI exam on Saturday showed the extent of the injury for the 29-year-old Cuban-born left-hander, who had struggled in his past two outings.

Chapman surrendered three hits and a run in two-thirds of an inning in a 5-1 home loss to Houston on Friday. A week ago, he squandered a three-run lead in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs in a game the Yankees eventually won after 18 innings.

After starting last season with the Yankees, Chapman was traded to the Cubs in July and wound up playing a crucial role in the team's run to the World Series title, the Cubs' first since 1908.

With the Cubs down 3-1 to Cleveland in the best-of-seven final, Chapman allowed only one hit over the last three innings in Chicago's 3-2 win in game five and just one hit and one run in the last inning of Chicago's 9-3 victory in game six.

Chapman was the winning pitcher in the decisive seventh game despite surrendering a run to Cleveland that forced extra innings, becoming a World Series winner for the first time.

After the season, Chapman returned to the Yankees, signing a five-year deal worth $85 million dollars (77 million euros). So far this season, he has a 3.55 earned-run average with 21 strikeouts over 12 2/3 innings in 14 appearances.

Chapman made a record 49 consecutive relief appearances with at least one strikeout in 2013 and 2014 and owns the fastest record pitch in major league history at 105.1 mph (169km/h).

At 22-12, the Yankees lead the American League East division and own the third-best record in the major leagues after Houston and National League leader Washington.

© 2017 AFP