The 24-year-old flame-thrower notched his second save in three days on Tuesday night in a 4-3 win against Atlanta, building his case for the full-time back-of-the-bullpen role.
Reds manager Dusty Baker is closely monitoring Chapman’s ability to handle the stress that comes with the job, but right now, on-field stress is the least of Chapman’s worries.
Chapman was arrested just before 1 a.m. Monday when he was pulled over after police clocked him driving 93 mph on the interstate — 10 mph slower than his normal fastball. He was also driving with a suspended Kentucky license.
The following day news broke that Chapman has been sued by a fellow Cuban-American currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in Cuba. The man claims Chapman falsely accused him of being involved in human trafficking and is seeking $18 million.
According to Danilo Curbelo Garcia’s lawsuit, Chapman and his father testified at a 2008 trial that Curbelo Garcia had described an elaborate plan for Chapman to defect that included a stay at a safe house and connecting with a boat on a beach near Havana. Chapman claimed that in return, Curbelo Garcia wanted a percentage of Chapman’s major league earnings. Curbelo Garcia said he never proposed such a plan and only met Chapman once during a family visit to Cuba in 2008.
Curbelo Garcia was arrested shortly after his meeting with Chapman and has been in prison ever since. He claims he has suffered beatings, solitary confinement and has received inadequate food and medical care. Chapman defected from Cuba in 2009 in the Netherlands and was signed by the Reds the following year.
“His decision to leave the country led to his methodical subterfuge, which centered on demonstrating his loyalty to the state, which he accomplished by becoming an informant ... and falsely reporting and testifying against Curbelo Garcia,” the lawsuit says.
Chapman and his agent have not commented on the lawsuit. Meantime, Baker did have a few words about his newly-promoted closer’s speeding arrest.
“A much bigger deal was made of it than it is, you know what I mean?” Baker said after Tuesday’s game. “You show me a young person that hasn’t gotten a speeding ticket, and I’ll show you somebody that didn’t drive.”
“You just tell him to slow down,” Baker continued. “He doesn’t understand English that much. He said the policeman told him the same thing.”
In 23 1/3 innings this season, Chapman has yet to allow an earned run. He has given up only seven hits and seven walks while striking out a whopping 41 hitters.