The Reds’ Dr. Tim Kremchek reports that Aroldis Chapman suffered a mild concussion and will have surgery today to repair the bone above his eye, where a plate may be inserted. The medical team expects a full recovery. Chapman will remain in the hospital a few days, but could be out as early as Saturday.
The Reds’ closer is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. But that doesn’t mean he’ll pitch right away after that, because he won’t be able to exercise during that two-month period. Chapman obviously won’t be pitching for two months, so he’ll have to go through rehab, essentially repeat spring training and then take on a few minor league appearances. That sounds more like June than May.
Dr. Kremchek, when asked if it is reasonable to expect Chapman to pitch this year, replied: “Absolutely.”
Chapman is reported to be awake and alert this morning, feeling better and in good spirits. He’s “telling “Cuban jokes” according to fellow Cuban Brayan Peña, who was behind the plate when the incident occurred. Chapman passes along his gratitude for all the support.
The pitch on that play was a 99-mph fastball. Chapman joked that he should have thrown it slower and Peña remarked that he wished he’d called for a slider.
There have been similar horrifying incidents in the past. Obviously none are exactly the same as Chapman’s situation. Here are a few:
Brandon McCarthy (2012) – Pitcher was hit on mound by line drive on September 5. Suffered an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture. Returned the following spring training.
Justin Smoak (2011) – 1B was hit by a ground ball and suffered a broken nose and cheekbone. Was out from August 13 to September 2.
Marlon Byrd (2011) – OF was hit by a 93-mph fastball and suffered multiple facial fractures. Was out from May 23 to July 2.
J.A. Happ (2013) – Pitcher was hit on a line drive back to the mound, suffered a skull fracture behind his left ear, no concussion. Was out May 8 to August 7.
Mitch Maier (2008) – Kansas City OF, hit in the face with a pitch, suffered multiple facial fractures. Out from August 21 to September 13.
Mike Mussina (1998) – Pitcher was hit on line drive back to the mound, broken nose. Was out nearly a month. Said afterward the main difficulty: “It was mentally getting over the fear that every ball I threw, every ball that someone made contact with was not coming back at me.”
Chris Young (2008) – Pitcher was hit by a line drive off of Albert Pujols, lacerated face, fractured nose, facial fractures, concussion. Out from May 22 to July 29.
Hideki Kuroda (2009) – Pitcher hit by line drive on August 15. No broken bones but had post-concussion syndrome. Out to September 6.
Bryce Florie (2000) – Red Sox pitcher hit by line drive in September, in right eye socket, never lost consciousness, diagnosed with fractures of right eye socket, surgery to relieve swelling, some visual impairment, retinal damage, returned to pitching early next season.
Dick Pole (1975) – Pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (you remember the 1975 Red Sox?) hit by line drive, fractured right cheekbone, eye injury, missed two months.
Herb Score (1957) – Pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, 20-game winner, hit by line drive on May 7 in the face and right eye, not unconscious, left on a stretcher, missed the rest of the season.
And I hate to bring this up, but Johnny Cueto was scratched from today’s game due to an “irritation in his scapula” (shoulder blade). I’m not a doctor, but that sounds close to his lat muscle.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.