​Reds Closer Hit In Eye By Line Drive​​

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March 20, 2021

Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman injured his left eye and nose after he was hit by a line drive on March 20. It’s the latest injury to a baseball closer from a frightening injury to the head head by a batted ball.

Chapman was undergoing further testing at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he was set to spend the night for observation, according to a statement from the Reds.

Reds Manager Talks About Chapman

First-year manager Bryan Price said Chapman was conscious and talking as he was taken off the field during Cincinnati’s spring training game against the Kansas City Royals.

The exhibition was called after an 8-minute delay with Kansas City leading 6-3.

“Not good,” Price said of the closer. “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 liner 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 onto 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 reliever 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.

“It was an absolute bullet that Sal hit,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s just a real sickening feeling for everybody.”

Players from both teams kneeled, some bowing their heads and crossing themselves in prayer.

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.

Oakland Closer Stuck

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 post on Twitter.

“all reporting at this point means zilch, until he gets a scan,” he said in a tweet.

Reds’ Pitcher Timeline

  • Chapman, the closer 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, teammates asked a team official to request that they leave.

In January, Major League Baseball approved a protective cap for pitchers following several terrifying scenes similar to this one in the last few years, including Toronto’s J.A. Happ, who sustained a skull fracture.