Aroldis Chapman is impressive with early pitching
Posted: 25 February 2010 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  992
Joined  2005-11-19

Jorge L. Ortiz | USA Today

The broad smile on Aroldis Chapman’s face told the story. After more than eight months without throwing to live hitters, he finally showed what all the buzz was about, and it felt good.

The Cuban left-hander threw live batting practice to Reds teammates Wednesday, not exactly a fair deal considering some just came into camp. Nonetheless, the reviews were glowing.


By Jed Jacobsohn, Getty Images

“He was nasty. All the pitches – slider, changeup and the fastball,’’ said his catcher, Wilkin Castillo. “We used the fastball much more because it was the first day, but all the pitches were there in the zone. He wasn’t wild. I thought he’d be a little wild because he’d gone a long time without pitching.’‘

Working with Castillo as in a game situation, Chapman threw around 30 pitches and the hitters mostly tracked the ball, but also took some swings. There was very little hard contact.

“I thought I was going to hit a lot of batters, but I focused on the mitt and where to throw the pitches and it went well,’’ said Chapman, who signed a $30.25 million contract in January.

The last time Chapman threw to hitters was in Cuba, two weeks before departing on a trip for a tournament in the Netherlands, where he defected July 1.

“I’d never gone such a long time without facing batters,’’ Chapman said. “That was my only concern, how I was going to react. But I put that worry aside and it couldn’t have gone any better. I’m happy with the results.’‘

Even teammates who do not speak Spanish turned to Chapman and said, “Bueno.’‘

After taking his first look at Chapman from the batter’s box, utilityman Chris Burke walked off saying, “That’s a nice little repertoire there. Somebody should sign this kid. He’s got a chance.’’


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