Cincinnati Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman suffered fractured facial bones when he was struck by a line drive on Wednesday night.
Chapman was two outs into the sixth inning when he was hit by a comebacker off the bat of Kansas City Royals’ catcher Salvador Perez. He immediately fell to the ground. Paramedics carted him off the field and he was taken to the hospital. He is initially being diagnosed with fractures to his left eye and nose.
The following video is amateur footage of the event from Wednesday night’s spring training game in Surprise, AZ. If you are a little squeamish, I suggest not watching it:
As of tonight there is no set timetable for Chapman’s return, but the fractures are the least of his worries. Doctors will test for a concussion and then determine the course of action from there.
The 26-year-old Cuban import has been one of the league’s best closers over the past two season, saving 76 games while compiling a 2.00 ERA and 234 strikeouts.
This is the fourth time in the last two years that a pitcher has been hit in the face following a pitch. Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy (who was with the Oakland A’s at the time) was hit in September of 2012 and has been very outspoken about the dangers of pitchers being a mere sixty feet, six inches from home plate.
Toronto Blue Jays’ SP J.A. Happ and Tampa Bay Rays’ SP Alex Cobb were also struck in the head last season. Happ missed three months and Cobb ended up missing two months. Those timetables could be in the range of what Chapman is looking at.
If you’re a Chapman owner, the first player to add off your waiver wire would be Jonathan Broxton.
Broxton (100 percent available on ESPN.com) just made his spring debut on Monday after undergoing forearm surgery in August. He does, however, have the most closing experience of anyone else in the Reds’ bullpen.
The 29-year-old has 111 career saves, including 36 with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.
Sean Marshall (0.6 percent owned) is working his way back from a shoulder injury, but will also be a viable ninth-inning option once he gets back into shape. As a lefty specialist (.173 BA against in 2012), Marshall could vulture a few saves, and is worth a speculative add if you’re handcuffing Broxton.
Also worth consideration is right-hander J.J. Hoover. The 26-year-old is owned in 0.2 percent of ESPN.com leagues and could be given a chance to close if Reds’ manager Bryan Price doesn’t think Broxton’s arm is ready. The third-year pro had 67 K in 66.0 IP last season.