Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was hospitalized after taking a line drive to the face during a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. He suffered fractures in his nose and left eye.
He was conscious when he was taken off the field, and he was transported by ambulance to the Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City, Arizona. He was then transferred to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. Tests indicated the facial fractures, but he is still to undergo further testing. He will stay overnight.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was struck in face with a line drive and was carted off. Their game vs Royals was stopped and not resumed.Chapman was hit by Salvador Perez with a 99-mph fastball up the middle, with two outs in the sixth inning. The athlete was seen falling to the ground and flailing his legs. The ball struck the third base dugout.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 20, 2014
Cringeworthy footage of Aroldis getting hit in the face
The park went silent as players from both teams gathered at the mound as medical personnel attended to the athlete. Even Chapman's father, who was watching the game, sped to his son. Price and Royals manager Ned Yost decided to call the game with Kansas City leading 6-3.
"Not good," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "He left the field on a stretcher, took a line drive just above his left eye is what it looks like a contusion, a laceration, and certainly needs to be taken to the hospital and checked."
"We've got Tomas Vera, an assistant trainer, is going to be with him. And then we'll get our updates from there," added the Reds manager. Vera is also Chapman's interpreter since the Cuban athlete joined the Reds in 2010.
Aroldis Chapman struck in the face by line drive, game cancelled in 6th inning http://t.co/QfvgmxedOi / pic.twitter.com/ipQp2FNithChapman is known as the Cuban Missile and the Cuban Flame Thrower. He played for the Cuban national baseball team before joining the Reds for a six-year contract.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 20, 2014
In 2012, he won the MLB Delivery Man of the Month Award as the best relief pitcher for July. As of 2013, he holds the record for throwing the fastest pitch speed in Major League Baseball (MLB) history, with a 105.1 mph or 169.1 km/h fastball. Since he started, 10 of his 19 first pitches hit triple digits and his fastball averaged 101.3 mph or 163.0 km/h.
In later games, Chapman's pitch speeds have decreased, but it is seen by experts as an attempt to control his fastball.
The two-time All-Star player had 38 saves for the Reds last season.
According to reports, the Reds closer was still able to communicate and move his hands, feet, and legs after the incident.
Image via Wikimedia Commons