Aroldis Chapman hit in face by line drive (video)


Medical personnel prepare to cart Aroldis Chapman off the pitcher’s mound. (Mark Sheldon / AP)

Chapman’s condition updated at noon EDT

Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is recovering in an Arizona hospital after suffering fractures above his left eye and nose when he was struck by a line drive to the pitcher’s mound.

In a scary scene during a Cactus League game Wednesday night, Chapman was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Chapman’s 99-mph pitch came back at him so quickly that he was just completing his follow-through when he was hit and trainers from both teams rushed to the pitcher’s mound, as did Chapman’s father, who was watching in the stands.

“He never lost consciousness,” Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters. “He was able to communicate. He was able to move his hands, his feet, his legs. I’m not a doctor. I don’t want to go much further than that. It got him pretty flush just above the left eye is what it looks like.”

By late Thursday morning, Chapman was joking with teammate Brayan Pena and doctors expected a complete recovery.  John Fay, who covers the team for the Cincinnati Enquirer, reported that Chapman may require minor surgery to reduce swelling around his eye and to insert a plate, but could be out of the hospital as early as Saturday. He is not expected to pitch for six-to-eight weeks.

Chapman was carted off the field with assistant trainer Tomas Vera, who is Chapman’s translator, going with him to an Arizona hospital. Price and Royals Manager Ned Yost conferred and agreed to call off the rest of the spring game, which was in the sixth inning. Later Wednesday night, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips tweeted an update.

Reds assistant trainer Tomas Vera, who also serves as Chapman’s translator, went off of the field with Chapman and accompanied him to the hospital. Reds right fielder Jay Bruce called it “the most frightening thing I’ve ever been a part of” and video, which is graphic, bears that out.

Perez was, understandably, upset by the play, Yost said. “You can’t really tell him ‘Don’t feel bad about it,’ ” Yost told reporters, “because we all feel bad about it. But it wasn’t anything that he tried to do, or meant to do. It was just something that happened.”

Baseball has been addressing the safety of pitchers since Brandon McCarthy of the Oakland A’s was struck in the face by a line drive in 2012 and Doug Fister was struck on the side of the head during the World Series that year, but there have been no clear solutions. In January, Major League Baseball approved the use of a padded cap designed to protect pitchers, but it does not require players to wear them.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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