Stiff lower back for Chapman
Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman was slated to pitch four innings but lasted only 1 2/3 innings. He exited early during the seventh inning as a precaution for a stiff lower back.
“I was trying to work it out but they took me out just in case,” Chapman said through translator Tony Fossas. “I’ve never had back problems.”
Chapman was clearly not throwing with his usual velocity. His third pitch of the day was 97 mph but he never topped that. In the 1-2-3 sixth inning, he needed only eight pitches.
In the seventh, Chapman threw an additional 30 pitches. But his first pitch was to the backstop and he walked a batter. He also ignored the runner, Jonathan Herrera, who stole second easily. More trouble came on an E6 by Drew Sutton, which scored a run. A walk to Alex Escobar followed and after a Bryan Price mound visit, there was a three-run double by Jordan Pacheco that made it a 7-1 game. The count was 2-1 to Chris Nelson when Price, Dusty Baker and the trainer popped out of the dugout to take Chapman out.
Chapman threw a lot more off-speed pitches in the outing.
“It was less effort to throw the slider than my fastball,” Chapman said.
Chapman’s line: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, WP…38 pitches/21 strikes.
“I’m not really hurt but I have a little problem with my back that I’ve had all week,” Chapman said.
Clearly, the Reds were surprised when they found out Chapman had been bothered with his back lately.
Here are some quotes from Dusty Baker and Bryan Price:
Baker — “He didn’t say anything. I guess in Cuba, you’re taught not to complain or say much. We could tell he was wincing and walking around the mound. He really didn’t have his same stuff — same fastball or anything. We could tell something was wrong.”
“We’re not going to send guys out there that have problems or ailments that we’re aware of. Sometimes guys are going to go out there and compete because of the lure of trying to make the team and things of that nature. If this was an issue, then he shouldn’t have been pitching. Hopefully, next time we’ll know before he gets to game time.”
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