Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Aroldis Chapman — who was hit by a 99 mph line drive while pitching in an exhibition game against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday — suffered fractures above his left eye and nose and underwent surgery Thursday. It is estimated the closer will be out for two-months.
The scary scene happened in the sixth inning when Salvador Perez came to the plate and fired the missile that brought Chapman down leaving the stadium mute with concern.
The Reds’ medical staff, as well as players from both teams rushed to Aroldis Chapman’s side to help when it became apparent that he had been hit squarely on the face.
Reds Manager described his closer’s condition when he reached him on the mound:
“He never lost consciousness. 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.”
As with any serious incident on the field, Chapman was immobilized to prevent further injury, put on a stretcher, and whisked away to the hospital accompanied by Reds assistant trainer Tomas Vera, who was the first to reach the injured player.
Reds right fielder Jay Bruce said of Aroldis Chapman’s close call:
“It was the most frightening thing I’ve ever been a part of. I never got close enough to see it. The way it was explained, as hard as he throws and as hard as that ball was hit off of the bat, we’re hoping for the best.”
On top of the fractured bones, the 26-year-old pitcher suffered a concussion and will have a permanent titanium plate in his face. Additionally, he may need a bone graft to repair the broken bone, according to Reds team physician Timothy Kremchek, who believes Chapman will be able to fully recover:
“Right now, he’s a very lucky guy. He’s awake and alert and knows what’s going on. There’s no other brain injuries. Hopefully, a couple of weeks he can start exercising, and start throwing. And hopefully, be back in six to eight weeks.”
“The problem is you don’t want to get him back to contact as a pitcher too soon.”
Considering the severity of the injuries suffered by Aroldis Chapman and how shaken up players from both teams appeared to be, umpires decided to cancel the rest of the game after consulting with both managers.
Home-plate umpire Chris Guccione better explained how everyone present at the Surprise, Arizona training facility felt after watching the dangerous hit suffered by Aroldis Chapman:
“We just decided that for everybody’s safety and best interests that we’re just going to go ahead and call tonight’s game and just be done with it and really focus on the ballplayer hit, Chapman.”
“I believe the last thing on everyone’s mind on the field at that point was the game. It’s spring training, so it doesn’t hold a lot of weight anyway. There are not words to explain how everyone is feeling right now. It’s terrible. It really is. It’s dangerous. It happens every once in a while and you never know. It was completely inadvertent. None of that is happening on purpose. It’s one of the dangers of the game.”
Kremcheck said Aroldis Chapman doesn’t seem to have any eye or brain problems, but remains hospitalized following surgery on Thursday.
[Image via Twitter]