Chapman throws in bullpen

Reds camp opened with the regular stuff on Thursday afternoon — pitchers and catchers ran. They stretched and played catch.

chapman2 021810.jpgSomething that was different was watching Aroldis Chapman be part of the first bullpen session. Estimated, he threw for about 10 minutes to catcher Ramon Hernandez. The ball seemed to snap in Hernandez’s glove as he shouted instructions and encouragement in Spanish.

Watching their $30 million investment pitch — GM Walt Jocketty, assistant GM Bob Miller, scout Jerry Walker, manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price. Tony Fossas, the Class A Dayton pitching coach and Cuban native, translated coaching instructions from behind the mound.

Jocketty saw Chapman throw in the bullpen a couple of days ago, too.

“Very impressive,” Jocketty said. “I’d like to see him when a hitter gets in there. He showed good command. Everything was right around the strike zone. I watched him do his fielding drills over there and that was pretty good.”

The picture above is Chapman, taken by Reds assistant media relations director Larry Herms.

Here is how Chapman felt his first day went:

“I feel very comfortable,” he said with Fossas translating. “I had a really good day today, the first day out, with getting to know the guys. I feel this is a bunch of really good guys that have made me feel really at home.

“I am learning pretty fast, the system and the way it is here. I’m very comfortable with it.”

Price is in charge of Chapman’s throwing plan. That plan is to have the lefty throw in the ‘pen again on Saturday and once more on Monday. On Wednesday, he will face Reds hitters in live BP.

“The plan is we’re going to get him ready as we do, get him acclimated to the way we do things here, both from a throwing perspective and program and strength and conditioning, which we introduced back in January,” Price said. “We will continue to hone that and improve upon it.

“Then we’re going to let him get into ballgames and compete. I don’t think there’s any reason to say we have some sort of parameters on him. We’re going to let him go and compete. We’ve all seen the WBC games. We’re looking forward to seeing him pitch in regular games and see what he does. There’s nothing like watching guys with your own eyes and making assessments on where he fits best.”

Price did not rule out that Chapman could start this season in the Majors.

“He can start anywhere,” Price said. “But we want to assess him and make sure wherever he starts, it’s the right place. It might be Cincinnati. It might be someplace else in our system. I don’t know that yet.

“It’s a live arm and a kid ready to compete. I think this kid could go into a ballgame tomorrow and be ready to compete.”

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