Chapman struck in head by line drive, suffers broken bones
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman broke bones above his left eye and nose after being hit by a line drive Wednesday night, another frightening incident involving a pitcher being struck by a batted ball.
Chapman was undergoing further testing at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he will spend the night for observation, according to a statement from the Reds.
Reds first-year manager Bryan Price said Chapman was conscious and talking as he was taken off the field during their game against the Kansas City Royals.
The game 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 hit 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 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 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.
Chapman was taken to Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City. He was then transferred to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Perez appeared to be in tears as he left the field and first baseman Eric Hosmer hugged him. Perez quickly left the clubhouse without speaking to reporters. Hosmer hit a line drive off the head of Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb last June. Cobb sustained a concussion.
Playing right field, Reds teammate Jay Bruce heard the ball hit Chapman.
“It was one of the more frightening and non-fun moments I’ve been a part of on the baseball field,” he said.
After Chapman was driven off to the awaiting ambulance, Price and Royals manager Ned Yost met with the umpires.
“It was really a mutual agreement,” crew chief Chris Guccione said. “Players were rattled. The staff was rattled. The umpires were rattled. We figured it was best, along with both teams in agreement that the game should end.”
Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who had emergency surgery after he was struck in the head by a line drive in September 2012, urged caution in a twitter post.
“all reporting at this point means zilch, until he gets a scan,” he said in a tweet.
Chapman, who throws a 100 mph fastball, had walked four Royals in the inning before being injured.
The two-time All-Star had 38 saves for the Reds last season.
When reporters walked into the Royals clubhouse, third baseman Mike Moustakas asked a team official to request that they leave.
“No one wants to talk,” Moustakas said.
In January, Major League Baseball approved protective cap for pitchers after the occurrence of several terrifying scenes similar to this one in the last few years, including Toronto’s J.A. Happ, who sustained a skull fracture.
The heavier and bigger hats were available for testing during spring training on a voluntary basis but the cap apparently would not have helped Chapman in this case.