Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was hit in the face by a line drive in spring training, in what was one of the scariest line drive incidents in recent years. He needed surgery to repair bone around his eye but otherwise escaped with only a mild concussion. There was no other brain injury.
Chapman has been slowly working his way back to game shape over the last several weeks, and earlier this month he started a minor league rehab assignment. His first two outings in Single-A went fine. The last two in Triple-A? Not so much:
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Yikes. That's eight runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman in only one full inning of work. I'm sure that's not what the Reds wanted to see, though one team official told C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer they aren't particularly worried:
I texted with a Reds official who was in there, and he seemed to have little worries about Chapman's performance. He noted the velocity was from 97-101 mph and that his control was a little off.
He also said it was a lot like one of those "back field" games in spring training. That's when a major leaguer makes an appearance in minor league games. You can't get the adrenaline higher for some of the minor leaguers wanting to prove themselves, and it can't get lower for a big leaguer who has nothing to prove.
The most important thing is that Chapman's healthy. He's rusty and a little out of whack, which is fine. Considering what happened to him, being out of sorts on the mound is not big deal.
Chapman, 26, had a 2.54 ERA and 38 saves in 68 2/3 innings last season. Jonathan Broxton has taken over as closer in the meantime, though the club did use a committe while he was on the DL with a forearm issue.
There was talk the Reds hoped to activate Chapman off the disabled list on Friday, though it's unclear if that will happen in the wake of his rocky Triple-A outings.