Reds' Chapman hit by liner, suffers facial fractures

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 20, 2014 12:16 PM

(Reuters) - Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman suffered facial fractures after being struck in the face by a line drive during a spring training game on Wednesday, the National League club said.

Chapman was carried off on a stretcher after a terrifying moment when he was hit by a liner off the bat of Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez in the sixth inning of Wednesday night's game in Surprise, Arizona.

The Reds said Chapman was taken to a local hospital, where tests indicated fractures above his left eye and nose before he was transferred to another facility to undergo further testing.

"He never lost consciousness," Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters. "He was able to communicate. He was able to move his hands, his feet, his legs.

"It got him pretty flush just above the left eye is what it looks like."

Trainers from both clubs immediately rushed to aid Chapman, who was laying face down on the pitcher's mound while the Surprise Stadium crowd fell silent.

Chapman's father, who was in the stands, rushed onto the field and players from both teams took a knee as Chapman was immobilized, placed on a stretcher and carried off by a medical cart.

The Cuban-born Chapman was kept overnight for observation, and the game was suspended following the incident.

Reds outfielder Jay Bruce called the incident "the scariest thing I've ever seen.

"There are not words to explain how everyone is feeling right now," Bruce told MLB.com.

"It's terrible. It really is. It's dangerous. It happens every once in a while and you never know. It was completely inadvertent. None of that is happening on purpose. It's one of the dangers of the game."

Late on Wednesday, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips tweeted that he was at the hospital and Chapman was "doing better."

Chapman, 26, is entering his fifth major league season.

The hard-throwing left-hander, who can exceed 100 mph with his fastball, was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013, recording 38 saves each year.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)