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Chapman returns to Reds' clubhouse

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Aroldis Chapman, with two black eyes - and a big smile - returned to the Cincinnati Reds' clubhouse Sunday, four days after being hit in the face by a line drive.

"I feel a lot better than I thought I would," Chapman said, wearing a hat with the brim pulled down cover the surgical staples.

The 26-year old left-hander had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. A night earlier, he was hit by a ball off the bat of Kansas City's Salvador Perez.

Chapman knew immediately after impact that he was going to be fine in spite of the pain.

"You don't have time to think about it but even when I was on the ground, I didn't have any bad thoughts in my mind about what I was going through," said Chapman through an interpreter. "It didn't bother me until they told me that it would be two months before I could pitch. That was what made me mad."

Chapman will begin cardio and throwing off flat ground in eight to 10 days. He is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

Chapman's face began to swell and he didn't know the consequences immediately after be hit. It was questions about playing rather than healing came to him on the ground while paramedics attended to him.

"It was the first time in my life that anything like that happened to me," Chapman said. "I haven't thought about what will happen. I will have to get over it. My first thoughts are, I will have to throw more inside. I can't leave the ball out over the plate."

Chapman received a great deal of support from teammates, opponents, other Cuban players in the United States and many people around world.

"I feel happy that this many people came to me. All my teammates came to see me. All the Cuban players in this area came to see me. A lot of people prayed for me and contacted me on social media. That made me proud and happy," he said. "I didn't see my father on the mound that night but I saw that he was there when I saw the video. You couldn't asked for more than to have your father there. I chose not to send for the rest of my family. I didn't want to put them through stress."

Chapman watched the video several times.

"After watching the video many, many times, every time I see it I feel happy. This could have been something worse. The way I feel now, I have no pain right now. I put a picture on Instagram. So many people around contacted me to see how I was. I couldn't contact them all so I put out the picture to let them know how good I felt."

The Reds are using the last week of spring training to find a closer to replace Chapman, who will be one of six Reds' players to start the season on the disabled list.

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Dave March 23 2014 at 9:09 PM

Good luck to him. I'd be scared sh**less to get back on the mound again. If he can pull it off without fear, more power to him.

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Wayne March 24 2014 at 3:12 AM

He took a really nasty shot. Thank God he is doing well and will soon pitch again!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
droppitch March 24 2014 at 4:09 AM

A stand up guy ,good luck !!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
DJ March 24 2014 at 6:01 AM

Glad to see him upright and on the mend.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Jim March 24 2014 at 7:06 AM

I hate to even mention this, but I recall the incident where Herb Score was hit in a very similar fashion. This was back in the 50's. He was one of the best left handed pitchers with Cleveland but after this, it was like he altered his delivery and ended up with a sore arm. Never was the same. I pray that this young man can overcome this and resume throwing heat.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
wickedcoolally March 24 2014 at 8:22 AM

Yowzer! This dude is one tough cookie! Way to go, Aroldis!

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jasanftner March 24 2014 at 9:13 AM

Gutsy player, good to see him back and working out.

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Big Larry March 24 2014 at 9:16 AM

Chapman is one of those special players that when he comes in a game you just feel the excitement and have to stop and watch. Strawberry was like that and Reggie. When you're throwing 102, 103 MPH and then take a little off a slider at 92 .....yeesh!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
ccptski March 24 2014 at 9:39 AM

Glad to see Chapman is all right, or will be with time. I am a baseball fan, and never want to see a player hurt. Good luck Mr. Chapman!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
dicktaylor97526 March 24 2014 at 9:56 AM

Welcome back Mr. Chapman...

Flag Reply +3 rate up
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