Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Chapman progressing, but no timetable for return

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Progress toward a return to pitching for the Reds has become more tangible of late for closer Aroldis Chapman, although there is no definitive timetable.

Chapman threw from flat ground at Great American Ball Park during Thursday's off-day, and he's scheduled to have his first bullpen session on Monday.

View Full Game Coverage

CINCINNATI -- Progress toward a return to pitching for the Reds has become more tangible of late for closer Aroldis Chapman, although there is no definitive timetable.

Chapman threw from flat ground at Great American Ball Park during Thursday's off-day, and he's scheduled to have his first bullpen session on Monday.

View Full Game Coverage

"I felt really well [Thursday]. I felt normal," Chapman said via translator Tomas Vera. "I've been throwing the last four or five days already, and I feel really good every day."

Chapman, who suffered fractures above his left eye and nose when he was struck in the face by a line drive on March 19, has continued to amaze his teammates by his speedy recovery since the frightening incident.

Perhaps no one is more astonished than Reds catcher Brayan Pena, who witnessed the injury firsthand vs. the Royals. Pena caught Chapman's throwing session on Thursday.

"I'm speechless, to be honest with you," Pena said. "He was probably throwing 97 or 96 mph on flat ground. I was impressed. After that, we ran three-quarter poles. He was very fresh and strong. It was great. I never expected him to be this advanced.

"Everybody saw what happened to him. The fact that he's throwing baseballs already and at such a high velocity was very impressive."

Chapman, who was expected to be out four to six weeks following his operation, had the surgical staples removed from his head a week ago, and the swelling in his face has largely subsided. He says he can still feel some swelling under his left eyebrow, which is the location of the metal plate that was inserted to stabilize his fracture.

As Chapman nears a return to a mound, there is concern about how he might be mentally affected when facing hitters for the first time.

"Everybody asks me that question," Chapman said. "I know me and I know that I don't think I'm going to have any issue with that. I've thought about the way that I feel and the way that I am. I don't think this is going to affect me."

Pena tried testing Chapman when the two were playing catch.

"I don't throw that hard," Pena said. "I threw something back a little bit harder to him to see his reaction, and it was like playing catch with my son. He said, 'That's all you've got?'"

The Reds would like to keep progressing cautiously with Chapman, and not rush him back.

"We really don't want to put him in harm's way, so everything we do right now is fairly exclusive," manager Bryan Price said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.

Cincinnati Reds, Aroldis Chapman