BOSTON (CBS) – Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was involved in a very scary incident earlier this week in Arizona during a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals.
Chapman, known as the hardest throwing pitcher in the bigs, was hit in the face on a comebacker off the bat of Salvador Perez in the sixth inning. The lefty never lost consciousness but was immediately immobilized and taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with multiple facial fractures above his left eye and nose.
Chapman’s pitch was clocked at 99mph and came off the bat even faster at a speed of 110 mph. It hit him square above the eye, so even a MLB-approved protective helmet would have done him no good in that situation.
Several pitchers have been hit in the head by line drives in the recent years. Brandon McCarthy sustained a brain contusion and skull fracture after being struck in 2012 and Doug Fister was hit during the World Series that October.
Toronto’s J.A. Happ and Toronto’s Alex Cobb were sidelined after being hit last season.
Doctors are optimistic of Chapman’s recovery. No brain damage has been reported and the medical team expects him back on the mound in 6-8 weeks.
If you haven’t seen the video — WARNING: Not for the faint of heart:
At the hospital, Chapman underwent surgery to insert a titanium plate in his head to help stabilize the fracture.
He posted this picture to his Instagram account @_thecubanmissle54 Friday afternoon with the caption “Mi gente todo esta bien gracias a dios ya salimos de todo tipo de problema estoy aquí esperando q me den de alta.”
That translates to: “My people all is well and thank god we left all kinds of problems I’m here waiting I to be discharged”
For Red Sox fans, this incident draws comparisons to what happened to Bryce Florie in the summer of 2000. Florie tried to make a comeback but could never fully clear the mental hurdle of being on the mound again — baseball fans are hoping for the opposite for Chapman.
Tony Massarotti, Marc Bertrand and Marshall Hook discussed the incident and what can be done to protect these pitchers.
“On some levels he’s lucky because it didn’t hit him in the eye. It struck him just above where it could’ve been a lot more serious. Having a head full of staples and a plate inserted is pretty serious. That’s crazy. These types of injuries are just scary. They are some of the scariest injuries in sports,” said Beetle.
“I marvel sometimes that there aren’t more injuries like this in Major League Baseball. I don’t know that there’s ever a way to protect the pitcher. What are they gonna do next? Have him wear a catcher’s mask? Half these guys don’t even wanna wear the padded hat. I don’t know there’s a solution to this. It makes you cringe every time you see one of these because it could happen on every pitch,” said Tony Massarotti.
Listen below for the full discussion: