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Reds' Chapman struggles in possible rehab finale

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 08 2014 01:46:37 PM CDT
Updated On: May 08 2014 04:11:44 PM CDT
Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds, 2012

Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman has been slowly working his way back from being hit in the face by a line drive in spring training, but he struggled in his last two rehab games which could delay his return to the majors.

Entering this week, Reds manager Bryan Price had targeted Friday as Chapman's return date. Price was now more noncommittal.

Chapman made 21 pitches and was tagged for three runs on three hits in just one-third of an inning, with one walk and one strikeout on Wednesday afternoon. The previous night, while throwing 33 pitches, Chapman lasted only two-thirds of an inning and gave up five runs and four hits with one walk, one hit batter, one wild pitch and one strikeout.

He has allowed eight runs and seven hits in one full inning of work for Triple-A Louisville.

"I'd like to get some feedback from those that saw him pitch," Price told MLB.com. "I think sometimes for these guys, they go down and see it as a rehab and don't see it as competition. We have to look at every opportunity to pitch as competition.

"He obviously wasn't terribly sharp. He got hit, walked a couple of guys, hit a guy, so it wasn't an excellent outing. We would like him, when we activate him, to be ready to go. We'll make an assessment, I'm sure, in the next couple of days."

On March 19 in a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals in Arizona, the left-hander's 99-mph fastball to Salvador Perez was rocketed up the middle. The line drive hit Chapman in the front of his head and put him on the ground for 12 minutes before a stretcher carried him off the field. The game, still in the sixth inning, was immediately called off.

Chapman suffered fractures above his left eye and nose, and he also suffered a mild concussion. He underwent surgery the following day, when a three-inch plate and 12 screws stabilized the bones and several staples were put into his head to close the incision.

The Reds' plan was always to have Chapman make four rehab appearance. In two outings for Class A Dayton, Chapman pitched two scoreless and hitless innings.

Chapman, 26, had a 2.54 ERA and 38 saves in 68 2/3 innings last season.

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