The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

March 21, 2014

Cincinnati closer hit in face by line drive

SURPRISE, Ariz.— Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman broke bones above his left eye and nose when he was hit by a line drive Wednesday night, the latest frightening injury to a pitcher struck in the head by a batted ball.

Chapman was undergoing further testing at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he was set to spend the night for observation, according to a statement from the Reds.

First-year manager Bryan Price said Chapman was conscious and talking as he was taken off the field during Cincinnati’s spring training game against the Kansas City Royals.

The exhibition was called after an 8-minute delay with Kansas City leading 6-3.

“Not good,” Price said. “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.”

The hard-throwing left-hander was struck by Salvador Perez’s liner with two outs in the sixth inning — the pitch was clocked at 99 mph. Chapman crumbled to the ground, face down, his legs flailing. The ball caromed into the third base dugout. Medical personnel, including Royals Dr. Vincent Key, rushed onto the field. Blood could be seen on the mound.

Perez put his hands on his helmet before reaching first base. He immediately went to the mound where players from both teams huddled as the 26-year-old Cuban reliever was being attended to in an eerily silent stadium. An ambulance’s siren could be heard in the background while Chapman was loaded onto the stretcher.

“It was an absolute bullet that Sal hit,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s just a real sickening feeling for everybody.”

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