Aroldis Chapman, the 26-year-old Cincinatti Red pitcher who was hit in the face with a line drive in a game Wednesday night, had surgery on his head and face Thursday — and shared the results with his fans on Instagram.
The photo shows Chapman’s repaired head from above, with what appears to be at least two dozen staples holding the skin of his scalp together, extending from his right ear over the top of his skull and to the left side of his head.
Though it took 2 1/2 hours of surgery to fix a broken bone over Chapman’s left eye and the pitcher, who defected from Cuba in 2009 and joined the Reds Major League team the following year, endured a mild concussion, the Reds team doctor called Aroldis Chapman a “very lucky guy” to escape with only those injuries.
The doctor said he expects the fireballing southpaw whose fastball has been timed at up to 105 mph to return to the mound at some point this season.
Here’s what Aroldis Chapman’s head looked like after surgery.
Chapman included a message, in Spanish, along with the Instagram photo. Translated into English, his message read, “My fans everything is fine thanks to God we are already out of any kind of trouble I’m here waiting for them to give me the go-ahead.”
In Wednesday’s Spring Training game in Surprise, Arizona, Kansas City Royals hitter Salvador Perez got his bat on a 99 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman and rocketed a line drive directly back at the pitcher. The shot connected wit Chapman’s face directly above his left eye. A matter of an inch or two either way and the situation could be far worse for Aroldis Chapman.
“If you get hit in the side of the head, that could be disastrous,” Red team doctor Timothy Kremchek said. “Where Aroldis got hit, you don’t want to say he got hit in a good spot because he’s undergoing surgery, but it could have been a lot worse, a lot more injuries, a lot more permanent. He’s very lucky.”
The spot right above the eye is one of the thickest parts of the human skull, providing the most protection for the brain.
The Reds expect Aroldis Chapman to miss the first one or two months of the upcoming Major League season.