Aroldis Chapman cleared another hurdle as he makes his comeback from facial fractures sustained in Spring Training after he took a line drive to the face on March 19th after throwing to live batters on Wednesday where he looked to be in midseason form.
The best sign for the Cincinnati Reds and Chapman is that the flame-throwing closer came out of it feeling great.
“I felt pretty good,” Chapman told reporters. “I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. I just felt very good.”
Chapman will throw batting practice without a screen over the weekend and the next step would likely be shipping Chapman out on a rehab assignment to get a couple appearances under his belt before activating him off the disabled list.
Reds manager Bryan Price has said all along that the team won’t rush Chapman back and with Jonathan Broxton looking sharp in the role of closer, they won’t have to, but Price was encouraged with what he saw on Wednesday.
“He threw all his pitches,” manager Bryan Price told reporters. “He was very sharp, good velocity. Good slider, good changeup. Looked like midseason form.”
One of the batters who stood in the batter’s box against Chapman echoed his manager’s words.
Brayan Pena said, “His fastball was electrifying. It was exciting to see him go back there. His confidence was very good. That was a great sign.”
A great sign for Chapman and the Reds and an ominous one for opposing batters who have to step in and stare down Chapman who dials it up at north of 100 miles per hour.